Before I voice my constructive criticism, I’d like to show my appreciation to the cafeteria staff. During the summer months, they were tasked with entirely reforming the way they make us lunch, and they have done an extraordinary job with their new processes.
Their Ford-esque factory line system is nearly perfect, but the food within the brown boxes is not. Sodexo must rethink their go-to foods, as the high sugar load and small serving size do the students a disservice.
I noticed that every main item is carb-heavy: breaded chicken, pasta, and sandwiches galore.
Despite the scientific notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I often find myself missing it. Two snoozes and suddenly my planned three-egg breakfast has become a protein bar. With back-to-back ninety-minute classes to start the day, a well-rounded lunch has become a necessity for me.
Our lunches are not healthy enough. Looking through the two-week rotation, I noticed that every main item is carb-heavy: breaded chicken, pasta, and sandwiches galore. But honestly, this isn’t the problem. As long as I’m working out or playing a sport, carbs give me energy and work in my favor.
The sides are where the problem lies. On top of a carb-heavy main course, I peer into my brown box to find not one, not two, but three additional items that are detrimental to me as a student who sits in a desk seat for six hours straight.
The Tuesday lunch menu has more than 50g of sugar. To put this in perspective, the American Heart Association calls for no more than 36g of added sugar…for the entire day.
Here are my three solutions.
First, replace Gatorade with water, or at least make it half and half. Without water fountains, giving me only one drink choice that contains 30g of sugar is a bad start to the school’s only meal.
Second, provide more variety. If we’re only going to have one healthy snack, give a bit of choice. Understanding that there should be no shared calculators, chargers, and pencils, my proposed solution is to separate the meal from the snacks. Each advisory should have a larger container with fruits and vegetables alongside the other snacks, giving students a choice for their sides. All I’m asking is that those students who need to eat healthily for their sports practices are given the opportunity to do so.
Third, offer a second serving. I know it’s a big ask for cost reasons to replace sandwiches with grilled chicken or a salad, so I’ll refrain from touching the main item. Still, especially for our athletes, there should be an option for a second meal. Last year, nearly half of the students went back for seconds.
I suggest adding an option to the Magnus Health App. When I take my temperature each morning, why not add a bubble that asks if I want a second serving given the day’s menu? I’ve witnessed the Sodexo staff in their assembly line after school has started, so this solution would give them enough time to compensate.
Without any dramatic fiscal changes, Sodexo can easily give students the spark they need to thrive in this strange but better-than-nothing new year.
Sodexo has made a great effort to revamp its system, but there are changes they need to make. Get rid of sugary drinks, give a choice of snacks, and offer a second serving option. Without any dramatic fiscal changes, Sodexo can easily give students the spark they need to thrive in this strange but better-than-nothing new year.