Switching to Salads

by Lauren

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During my first week of school I came across a very big problem. Many students often buy lunch from the cafeteria. The options for lunch are very limited, and in my opinion mostly consist of fried food and pizza; there are very few healthy options for students. The lunch line does serve limited salads, but they come prepared and with dressing already on top of them.  That poses a problem for today’s more conscientious eaters.

At the lunch tables you often see many kids eating off the a la carte food line, which contains fries, fried onion rings, chicken nuggets, fried mozzarella sticks, and many more unhealthy items. I fear that soon the “freshman fifteen” will make its way to the high school.

New Jersey has done very well on the health front, and I would hate for it to slow now. If a salad bar were put in, I am most definitely sure the students of RFH would take advantage of it.

This salad bar would be very easy for RFH to obtain. All they need is to take a tiny section of the cafeteria line and put in a couple boxes that would hold the ingredients for a salad.  The cafeteria could even include chicken to go along with these salads being sold. This way a salad bar also appeals to less health-concious consumers.

Including this option would not only help the health of the students and the teachers, but it would also help set a strong, positive example for the rest of the schools in New Jersey. According to njspotlight.com, when a local New Jersey middle school put in a salad bar, the principal was pleasantly surprised by the amount of children that preferred the fruits and vegetables being served over the processed food.    This is one more reason to support putting a salad bar in the school.

All schools should teach their students the facts and effects healthy and unhealthy eating does to your body and overall health. Today, America contains about 38 million obese people.  Since 2000, the obesity rate in America is up 30.5% according to heathland.com.  Now, even though New Jersey has the ninth smallest obesity rate in the U.S., the state needs to continue to teach the youth of America how to eat right with a balanced diet.  Most people today do not even know about the food pyramid or the fact that the food pyramid was revised in 2005.

the "new" food pyramid

the “new” food pyramid

Today’s food pyramid no longer looks like a pyramid, but a plate. On this plate sections are divided into the proper food proportions. Half of the plate is for fruits and veggies, and the other half is used for grains and protein foods, like poultry. Outside of the plate is a marked spot for dairy as well. Choosemyplate.com is a special website dedicated to educating its readers about what they need for daily nutrition. The website even includes an index of all the foods and the proportions needed to receive the recommended daily nutrition in each category.  Bringing in a salad bar would help students achieve their fruit and vegetable needs.

There is no reason why RFH should not continue to promote a healthy eating style in school.   It has been proven that over the years, if a student eats right he or she will do better in school.  All the arguments against a salad bar can’t possibly compare to the positive if one were put into daily use.  Because so many people in the world today have weight and health issues, we have a chance to help stop child obesity and promote good health. Many schools are now putting the student’s health as a main priority and giving them what they need. I feel that the school should listen to the people and students to create a more unified school, invested in the future and their health.

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Image from: http://www.choosemyplate.gov

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