Many people will remember school lunches as “Mystery Meat Mondays” or “Taco Tuesdays,” but there are strict nutritional guidelines school cafeterias must meet. Creating healthy, tasty meals that most teens will eat is no easy task.
Elkin High School’s lunchroom staff includes Serena Martin, Pam Lloyd and Amanda Wall, managed by Penny Lloyd. The staff prepares breakfast and lunch every school day for both the middle and high schools according to state regulations.
Lloyd explained, “We have to watch how much sodium goes into each serving. There is a certain amount of carbohydrates that goes into each meal, and a certain amount of fats throughout each week.”
Despite those tight restrictions, Lloyd commented that she eats school lunches every day, not because she has to, but because she enjoys the food at the school. However, that does not mean she would not like to make some changes.
If not for state regulations, “The food at the school would be more like a home-cooked meal. We would add more seasonings and other ingredients that would make the lunch taste like something coming out of a student’s grandmother’s kitchen.”
When asked on a scale of 1-10, “How much do you think students like the food you serve?” Lunchroom staff gave an average rating of 7 to 8 out of 10. Most students agree with that assessment and are usually positive about the food.
Elkin High School junior Julie Taylor said the school lunches are “better than they used to be,” and she would give them a grade of “B.” That is not a bad grade for strictly regulated, nutritionally complete foods.
Katie Sidden, Zoey Hawks, Samantha Martin, and Gabriella Gentry are students at Elkin High School.