Cafeteria becomes more diverse

Kelsea Burns, Co Editor-in-Chief

De Soto High School’s cafeteria expanded its options this year to meet the changes made by the All Foods Sold in School component of the Healthy,  Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The act went into affect in 2012, and the All Foods in School component went into affect on July 1, 2014. Despite there being new regulations in place, the DHS cafeteria has become more diverse than it has been in the past.

“We’ve added several new things for lunches in the cafeteria this year,” said Director of Student Nutrition Amy Drogemeier. “Probably the most popular [change] is that we are serving Pizza Hut pizza every day. It is available as a lunch now. It used to be charged as a la carte, but with this new formulation we are now able to serve it to students as a hot lunch. There is also a themed bar every week.“

The themed bar, called the Creation Station, alternates every week between Asian, Italian and Mexican cuisine. Many DHS students such as senior Dylan Mathern are happy with the addition of the Creation Station.

“I think the Taco Bar is delicious. When they serve regular tacos, for school lunches, it’s awful,” Mathern said. “But for some reason this taco meat is better.”

The Creation Station is not the only new addition to the cafeteria.

“We’ve added wraps and sandwiches for lunch this year,” Drogemeier said. “It’s just a way for kids to be able to customize what they want for lunch.“

DHS has changed its menu quite a bit since the act first went into affect. This includes switching to whole-grains and requiring students to take a fruit or vegetable with their lunches.  The new component of the act expanded the regulations to all food items sold on the school campus during the school day, which includes vending machines, school stores, the cafeteria and fund raisers.

The only time that food that does not meet the nutrition requirements of the act is three minutes after the school day ends until midnight.

With these changes, Drogemeier and her staff have tried to create menus that students will enjoy.

“I take a look at all of the regulations and really just tried to be creative,” Drogemeier said. “I look at what the kids are asking for, and I try to make sure we’re offering things that are new and different. I never want the kids to feel like, ‘Oh goodness, there’s more changes.’ I want them to be excited about the changes.”

Overall, Drogemeier is pleased with the results.

“It’s a lot more work for our staff, but I think they’ve done a beautiful job with it,” Drogemeier said. “The participation is up, here at De Soto High School. There’s been issues with getting kids through the lunch line, but we’re working on it.”

Senior Kelly DeBrabander agrees that the long lines are still a problem

“What I do every time is just get the chicken patty because it takes too long to wait in line,” DeBrabander said.

With these recent changes in affect, Drogemeier does not expect many more upcoming changes for a while.

“There always are re-authorizations where the federal government will look to see that the rules meet what we should be doing for dietary guidelines for Americans. The next review of that is in 2015.  So, I don’t anticipate any major changes in the next two or three years,” Drogemeier said. “I think we’ve done well. We’re offering things kids like. The major places are changed and put into effect.”