Eye of the Tiger

NGUYEN: Food health education necessary for students

DAYNA NGUYEN

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Approximately 100,000 schools nationwide serve over 30 million school lunches daily – about 66 percent of which are free and reduced, often serving as supplements to a home-cooked meal.

When students take Health and Safety, they might learn a bit about labels.

However, as an individual who has taken part in the culinary program at RHS, I would say that Culinary has educated me more on how to take care and maintain my health than Health and Safety ever did.

Labels are more than just an ornamental decoration for our food.

In the modern world, our food is often construed of various things to the point of ambiguity. The fact is this – we can’t recognize what our food is without a label.

However, the only nutritional information available for food at RHS is often only total calories and carbohydrates – nothing else.

Two burger buns to many doesn’t translate to 2.5 grams of sugar. It was to my displeasure that when looking for a label on my lunch I realized this – there simply wasn’t one. Excluding the taco salad, food at our school lacks labels, and perhaps worse, the fact that when looking online there is still very little information on what is in that food. There is literally only a carbohydrate report.

The “labels” for our food pales in comparison to that of other schools’ and their menus such as Lodi High School, which has a day-by-day menu complete with sodiums, fibers, and cholesterols. The fact that I found it surprising that they had a detailed label on their food says miles about our own.

Why is the disclosure of ingredients on our food so lacking? Yes, it has been impounded into our brains that Roseville is an old school, but we are the same as children from any other school, in which students are regarded with proper dietary respect and information.

Upon contacting Director of Food Services Jay Brown, I found myself again on an elusive path of trying to find a detailed menu of our food.

The replies I received were equally as elusive as our menus, congested with the legality of our food rather than the actual reasoning for the evasive nature of our school menus.

These USDA regulations and our supposed adherence to them fail to prove their authenticity to me when we are being served plastic-like cheese. Even so, RHS still does not have complete deniability because they have no menu to prove me wrong.

When I think of labels, I don’t just think carbs and calories. I think sugar, sodium, total fat, or even cholesterol and the complete cumulative amount of ingredients in our food.

I think of all the substances that I put into my body and the delineation between nourishment and filler foods. I feel like we, the youth and the future are in charge of the food should put full labels online for the food we eat.

I know there are some parents who want their kids to eat healthy but require financial assistance, therefore receiving free lunch.

These parent may seek information is in the food, but how can they look if there is nothing but carbs and calories?

The food we offer here is so limited as is and doesn’t cater to students who may have certain dietary restrictions, such as diabetes.

I’m glad that the culinary teachers take the time to teach their students the importance of a healthy balanced diet.

The culinary teachers Angela Ash and Jaime Jackson are the ones who have brought this upon my attention and will hopefully continue encouraging this trend of mindful eating.

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