School lunches


Average lunch

Emily Kercher

 Believe it or not, there was a time at West Ottawa where lunches were filled with the sweet smell of decadent 50 cent chocolate chip cookies; Bosco stick wrappers and marinara sauce containers were scattered throughout the lunchroom. It was a much less hostile environment for the students, quite possibly for the staff as well. When did we go wrong? What was the turning point to the new way of life filled with limited proportions of whole grain? Will we ever return to the old scenario? According to Mr. Clark, it is possible that WO students will again see the wrappers of old familiar foods.

West Ottawa, along with most other government-funded schools in the nation, underwent the drastic meal changes because of Michelle Obama’s mandatory health terms.

“Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium.” The dietary guidelines for American states in chapter four about what every person should do with their diet. Michelle Obama used the DGFA as a main reference in her regulations to public school lunches and food rules. That, along with many other things, influenced her decisions for deserts and high calorie foods to be replaced with whole grain, corrected proportions. Clark said, “Because Michelle Obama was on a health kick for all kids and lunch programs. There’s a lot of lunch programs that are trying to cut out starches. Instead of white wheat [we have] whole wheat. She’s trying to reduce childhood obesity. So that’s where it came from. She put in some laws about what foods schools can sell.”

Clark also said we could expect to see some of those foods coming back in through a loophole he discovered after talking with marketing teachers from nearby schools. “It’s only in high schools but you can do fundraisers. 2 days a week… clubs [WO pong, tennis, cheer, etc] can rotate through and they can do bake sales twice a week and sell things like Cokes and Pepsi that aren’t diet and cookies. That’s how food is being brought back into the high schools.” As long as it’s twice a week and through a club, it’s legal and profitable. 

Regarding the profits of the school, Clark also broke that down for us. “The money thing is that they’re changing it [the rules of what can be sold] because they know high school students are going to eat whatever they want to eat and get it either at the store or at school. It would be better if the schools offer it then they can get the money in the schools rather than Family Fare getting the money.”

He says that if that all works out, we can expect to see pizza from Domino’s more often than not, and candy bars in the WOZone as well. 

The point is not to back track on all the healthy progress, it’s to assure student satisfaction, and money in the system. The whole-grain meals and the daily menu is not going anywhere or subject to change anytime soon; however, we can all look forward to the two “cheat days”, and our school funds going up as well.