By Steven Kimball
When Andover High students arrived on the first day of the year, a new principal
wasn’t the only change awaiting them. Several new initiatives to improve the quality and health of school lunches were implemented. The biggest change came not to the main lunch entrée but rather to the vending machine sales.
Gail Koutroubas, Director of Food Services, explained, “ The biggest change is the fact that we are no longer able to sell sports drinks in our vending machines. In addition, all juices that we sell must be under four ounces.” All this comes as part of a nationwide program launched by first lady Michelle Obama to reduce obesity in American schools.
In addition, all other snacks sold within the vending machines must contain fewer than 200 calories. Students will also observe changes concerning the pretzel and popcorn sales. Gone are the large white bags previously used for popcorn, replaced by smaller one-ounce bags. The new popcorn currently being served has reduced the oil content by 33 percent in addition to reducing the sodium load.
Students may also notice the considerably smaller size of the pretzels being served this year. The size of the pretzels is now 2.5 ounces as opposed to the previous 5-ounce pretzels. The calorie intake has been cut in half from 280 to 140 calories.
Although students may see drastic changes in their snack choices, very little will change with regard to the lunch entrée. Koutroubas expressed that “we were already on the leading edge of nutrition when it came to offering healthy lunch entrées”. She
said, “Students will continue to be required to pick a fruit or vegetable with their lunches. Students are also required to take a milk to go along with their entrée.”
“The students are very receptive to the changes in the menu and we appreciate their business,” Koutroubas concluded.