By Max Silveira
Imagine going somewhere and ordering a large sirloin steak, with sauce, onions and a side of fries, and receiving only a measly 200-calorie serving that is as big as the piece of bread you have. If you were at Andover High School that would be the largest portion they could serve you.
According to new federal regulations all food served both by the cafeteria and in the vending machines must be less than 200 calories, meaning that each individual item cannot contain more than 200 calories. Additionally no food can be brought in and sold within an hour after school. This has had a profound impact on clubs, students and the cafeteria.
Nathan Langevin, the kitchen manager at Andover High School, acknowledges the challenges of the new regulations saying, “The rules are tough. It’s not saying you can’t have junk food; there are just guidelines where you need to be at.” To meet these guidelines the cafeteria has been offering healthier, smaller portions for all students. Some food that has taken a noticeable decrease in portion size includes the popcorn, cookies and wraps. Langevin said he has experienced many disgruntled students regarding their portion size. But as a parent he believes these new regulations will teach the students to manage their servings.
Speaking about the guidelines, Langevin says, “It’s all about counteracting obesity and non-activity.” A specific rule that was put in place to counteract obesity was the regulation saying no food is allowed to be bought or sold on school grounds within one hour after school ends (unless it is made by the cafeteria). This put a damper on a major source of funding that many clubs use.
Danny Caveney, a student and active club member at AHS, says he believes, “Bake sales are a great way for clubs to raise money.” While Caveney listed some clubs that have used bake sales to raise money in the past such as the Environmental Club, the Robotics Club and the National Honor Society one club in particular that has felt the impact has been SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).
Kendric McCarroll, a club leader for SADD, expressed his opinion on the new regulations: “I think it’s counter-productive to a lot of clubs and organizations.” A big source of SADD’s funding came from bake sales. A specific use for their funding was to buy pizza for all club members and without bake sales this has been tough because as McCarroll said they don’t have as much funding. Due to the lack of funding McCarroll said SADD has experienced “a little bit of a drop in the numbers (of club members).”
McCarroll is against these new food regulations and believes students should “speak up and speak their mind.” However there are ways around the dilemmas that many clubs and students face. The kitchen manager says that clubs can use the school cafeteria for the same sale. This means that if a club wants to have a bake sale after school all they have to do is ask the cafeteria to make the food for them, and as long as it meets the guidelines the club can buy it from the cafeteria, at a discounted price, and sell it to students. While the lack of bake sales has frustrated many students but the servings of food in the cafeteria could be an even bigger issue.
For those disgruntled students who complain about the small portions they could bring a lunch from home, buy multiple items from the vending machine, or try the healthier options. Despite the alternative options some students still don’t see the reasoning behind these new changes.
“I don’t think one bake sale (or lunch) makes someone obese,” says Caveney. While his viewpoint is usually correct, the goal of these guidelines is to help the students develop healthier eating habits while also learning to moderate their food consumption. Some, such as Langevin, support these new rules, while others such as McCarroll are opposed. The only thing one can be certain about is that students must adjust.