New Food Program Lacks Taste, Costs More

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Kaylee Cisna

A sample of a lunch at LHS cafeteria

by Kaylee Cisna and Avery Regan, Staff Writer

One of the constant staples of our school day is lunch. We’ve had school lunches since kindergarten, and for many students, it is one of the only meals they get each day.  Since school began, students have complained about the lower quality food, smaller portions, and higher prices in our cafeteria. At the end of last year, Leander ISD signed over with a new food program called South West Food Serves Excellence (SWFSE), and the students have noticed a huge difference in the way the food tastes this year compared to last year. We have also noticed that the prices of the lunches are now $0.05 higher and we are getting smaller portions of food.

The feedback from the students about the food quality has obviously not been good, and they consistently mention the fact that the food now tastes bland or in other words, like plastic.

“The slushies have no flavor,” said sophomore Mario Reyes. “They lack the flavoring that they had last year, and they are also more icy and less slushie.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like cafeteria food has much flavor to begin with, but when you take away ever subtle hint of flavor left, there are definitely going to be complaints. But is it fair that not only has the food lost all flavors, but we are also paying higher prices for it? When we look at last year’s prices compared to this year’s prices there is a difference. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you are paying that every day the costs start to add up. In fact, it’s $9.35 more for a years’ worth of lunch.

“I’m definitely not getting my money’s worth,” said 10th grader Chelsey Reagan.

But not everyone is unsatisfied with these changes.

“The salads have gotten better,” said 10th grader, Tori Brown.

But let’s talk about the real controversy at matter; is this food really healthier for us? Just because you cut down carbohydrate and protein levels doesn’t mean that the food is any better for us. Maisie Goodman, representative of the SWFSE, informed me that the USDA have made portions smaller to try to make the food healthier. If they want to try and make the food healthier, they should actually give us fresh food. Instead of giving the schools a monthly supply of frozen food, they should give us food that is more organic. It may not always be the cheapest way to go, but if you are going to argue that the food is now healthier, at least make the argument valid by going with a program that the food is a little fresher. At this point, I don’t care to eat the cafeteria food that is being given to us and I know a lot of people would agree with me.

If I had any say in this decision, I would find a program that actually knows where the food is coming from and what’s in it. We expect the food to be 100% quality and we are paying for something that can be considered healthy but also tastes good. The reason behind trying to make food healthier is to fight childhood obesity, and they have a valid reason for trying to change this, but we all think that maybe this should take a different approach., such as finding a program that has somewhat healthier food without having to slim down the portions of carbohydrates, proteins, or even of the meal itself.

Why is it okay for them to be able to choose what we eat, while also expected to pay more money for it?