New food laws influence school lunch menus

Photo by Hannah Baynes
The new school lunches give students the opportunity to choose fruits an vegetables over chips and cookies, although many traditional junk food is still available in its original or a modified form. The staff has accepted the new laws and adapted in order to abide by them. Photo by Hannah Baynes


As students enter the 2014 school year, they have to adapt to the new national food laws. First Lady Michelle Obama’s focus is on the health of children and one of her many avenues is to improve the quality of food available for kids at school. After over a year of endless discussions and meetings, the new national food laws were finally passed on October 28, 2013.

Since this change occurred in the middle of the school year, the new laws were not strictly enforced until the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.

Some of the new laws include providing low-fat or fat-free milk, limiting vending machine items to 200 calories, and keeping sports drinks and sodas under 60 calories. The food laws apply to all grade levels from Pre-K to 12th grade. The laws are in effect everywhere on campus including before and after school.

The new food laws caused decreases in some of the portion sizes, prompting some students to ask for additional alimentary snacks.

[pullquote]I do not believe the amount I pay for my school lunch is worth the amount of food I received. I would rather pack my own lunch than buy a lunch. -junior AJ Janssen[/pullquote]

“If the laws cut down on the food portions the school should provide the students with a free snack during class hours,” sophomore Theresa Freeland said. “I noticed that the chip bags were smaller and a less variety of foods to get.”

School nurse Joni Knapper does not think smaller portions are always the answer.

[pullquote]Fruit now is a lot better than before the new laws. Prices are too high for the amount of food though. -junior Chris Vernnard[/pullquote]

The Gull Lake High School nurse gave feedback on the new laws.

“I am pleased about the focus on healthy eating, and I am very much in favor of modeling healthy behaviors at school,” Knapper said. “However, sometimes all the rules seem to bump up against common sense and portions are reduced to amounts that don’t sustain active and healthy youth.”

Knapper said the obesity rate in young adults and teens is staggering and must be addressed in a way that keeps the portions of food large but still creates a healthy food environment. There is mixed feedback from students and faculty, and not all of the flaws have been ironed out, but Gull Lake and schools across the country are working to comply to the recently passed laws and to uphold Michelle Obama’s campaign for a healthier generation.

Stosh Tustin

Stosh Tustin

My name is Stosh Tustin, and I am a junior at Gull Lake High School. I run cross country and play baseball. This is my second year on the newspaper staff, and I’m excited about broadening my writing and photography spectrum. I joined newspaper to understand the work and steps it takes to become a well rounded photographer and writer. I would like to also do film for the paper this year.

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