Hungry, Hungry Hickman

The election of President Trump creates questions about the quality of school lunch

Caleb McElmurry, Ben Cohen, and Omar Huesca

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One new item that’s stirring up trouble on the Hickman menu is the Dippin’ Dots. Dippin’ Dots are ice cream, a dish traditionally considered unhealthy, and while the school has served other ice creams before, the Dippin’ Dots still have some students concerned over their push into the freezer. However, according to Laina Fullum, The director of nutrition services for columbia public schools,

Dippin dots are an ice cream product, ice cream meaning dairy, and they meet smart snack guidelines.”

But what does it mean to meet the smart snack guidelines? Implemented in 2014, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act placed multiple restrictions on what can be in school food.

“We have to watch the calorie content of our mains, and we also have limits on the fat content, the saturated fat content, and the sodium content.” Fullnum said. “Additionally, we have to make sure we’re serving a certain amount of dark green vegetables each week, we have to make sure we’re serving dried beans, and every single grain we serve has to be at least 50% whole grain. We also have to serve red and orange vegetables at the minimum.”

All the foods that Columbia Public Schools serves conform to these strict rules, as well as all foods provided in the vending machines; even those that are not directly supplied by Columbia Public Schools.

Hickman parent Kristin Bowen stated her concerns over the nutritional value of the school lunch, but she also added that  “While the school lunch at Hickman may not be the most healthy, I prefer it to my student leaving the campus for lunch.”

The idea that school lunch is overly salty  junk food is an idea that many people share. This leads many families to choose packing a meal from home as opposed to buying school lunch. However this isn’t the only reason that students bring food from home. Desmod is a senior who brings lunch from home.

“I bring my lunch from home because it generally tastes better, and it allows me to control what I eat” says Desmond.

Another thing about lunch that’s been eating students that also may be unfounded is the worry that the change in presidency may result in worse lunches, and so far, no major changes have been made to the lunch program. However, Fullnum has some worries.

“I am afraid that the lunch program might change, because I think we are in a good spot right now. We don’t want to backslide.”

But not all changes are ones that will make the lunch program worse, for example, Fullnum wishes to see the sodium restriction go. But that’s not all.

“We don’t think that there should be caps on calories, because high school students have a huge range at which their caloric needs are based on.” Fullnum said. “I am hoping that the current administration maybe lays off the sodium restriction but continues on with the rest of the restrictions that we are in compliance with.

As the school year continues, some students will keep on purchasing school lunch, and others will stick to bringing their lunch from home. One thing is sure to persist; Teenagers will still be hungry.