Limited school lunches

Diet restrictions in the school cafeteria


Picture courtesy of Google Images via Creative Commons

Mia Maclean, Writer

With new dietary fads constantly emerging, high school students are changing the way they view school lunch. One of the most popular plans is the vegan diet. Veganism centers around plant-based food and drinks, and many of Battlefield High School’s students are fans. However, there are very few vegan options in the school cafeteria, putting an obstacle in the way for those students who wish to eat healthier while relying on the provided lunches. 

Vegetarianism is a less extreme version of veganism, making it a much easier diet to prepare food for. Vegetarians are permitted to use animal products, but not allowed to eat any meat. Sophomore Tamar Guberek has been a vegetarian for almost five years and eats a packed lunch every day. She says, “It is easier to make lunch with better options of food [from home].” Guberek is supportive of a new variety of food to run through the kitchens, as the servings now are overused. Vegetarians like Tamar would love to be included in the meal plan, with servings of foods made with tofu, soy, and beans.

Vegetarianism and veganism are healthy diets, and schools should be promoting plant-based lifestyles. An article from PubMed reveals that, “more recent vegetarian diet studies have demonstrated significant although smaller risk reductions for mortality in cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease.” If Battlefield wants to promote healthy lifestyles to students, a solid start is providing healthier, meatless opportunities in the lunch lines. 

The stereotype of vegans and vegetarians that most high schoolers are exposed to is not always true. Most plant-based dieters are not ‘health nuts’ or ‘crazy environmentalists’ but instead are just interested in keeping their bodies safe and clean. An article from JAMA Network confirms that vegetarians and vegans have a healthier, longer life than those who eat meat every day because of the proteins in the plants. Mingyang Song, MD, includes the statistics, “Plant protein was associated with lower all-cause mortality… and cardiovascular mortality.” 

Lots of teenagers are also concerned about the taste, but many different producers have successfully created alternatives to meat and are loved by many families and teenagers. Brands like Quorn, Gardein, Tofurkey, Morning Star, Beyond Meat, and Boca Burger are successful in creating a wide variety of cuisine, mimicking the taste and texture of meat. Schools can find a good, inexpensive producer to provide the meatless versions of teenagers’ favorite foods. 

Battlefield has always been the type of high school to provide students’ wants and needs, and what students want now is a good, balanced diet. Students hope to see the change in the cafeteria so they can continue to enjoy the food prepared by the amazing people in the kitchen.