To the Editor:
As a senior at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High school, I was truly appalled by the article [Healthier snacks trim revenues in high school budget, November 21] recently published about the lunch system at the high school. If you eat just one meal in the MVRHS cafeteria, you’ll see that kids didn’t stop buying lunch because they stopped offering chocolate milk or French fries, but simply because the food has become close to inedible.
“You can lead teenagers to healthier snacks, but you can’t make them eat them.” Is this why you think we stopped buying school lunch? Because it’s too healthy? Ha. That would be the day. Take a look around the cafeteria, the kids who are not buying school lunch (and are instead bringing lunch from home) are bringing healthier lunches than the school cafeteria has ever served. The most common lunch brought from home is a salad, followed by a sandwich, and then even sometimes leftovers from last night’s dinner.
When the high school went through this “transformation” to a “leaner, greener” menu, I can’t say I noticed immediately. However, I did notice that the food was slowly becoming less and less appealing. Because there were more greens? No. Because there was less flavor and less options. I love salad, and I’m proud to say I have considered it my favorite food since kindergarten. Show me a fully stocked salad bar, and I will be the happiest diner in that cafeteria, but this is far from the case. Even after attempting to make a salad out of the lettuce, giant slices of tomatoes and maybe even some carrots, if it’s a good day, I would still need some sort of edible salad dressing. But somehow, even our dressings seemed to be deemed unhealthy after the “transformation.” I would love to hear the reason for balsamic vinegar dressing not being offered in the cafeteria anymore. Too many calories? Too much sodium? Oh please. What about simply a bottle of oil and a bottle of vinegar, maybe
even some salt, if we’re lucky? Or, as young adults in high school, are we still not mature enough to handle dressing our own salads?
“But the reality, she acknowledged, is that kids want cookies and chocolate milk.” (Says Bernadette Cormie) Actually, if you read back a few lines in the article, you will see that this isn’t the case at all. Kids are quoted as saying that what they really want to see in the cafeteria is the sandwich bar brought back, more fruit varieties, better pizza, and fresher snacks, such as bell peppers, carrots, and hummus.
I understand that the state has strict guidelines on the school lunches and that a lot of the changes in the cafeteria are due to trying to meet these new guidelines. However, I don’t believe that this means the food has to be unappetizing. It seems to me that other schools around the Island have been able to work within these guidelines. Schools need to stop blaming the kids for the decrease in revenue and own up to the simple fact that the food being served is no longer appealing. I think everyone can agree that something needs to be changed about our current lunch system. How about we start with the food?