Cafeteria conundrum


Photo by Abby Miller

A fresh salad, one of the vegetarian options offered by FHS.

     Dietary restrictions such as allergies or vegetarian or vegan eating choices can be challenging. For students who bring lunch from home, these challenges can be easy to overcome. However, students who buy school lunch can be limited in what they can buy and eat because of their restrictions.

     “With the school lunch, what I normally do is just get the everyday pizza, there’s not many options,” senior Elizabeth King said. “It’s hard because I am a picky eater, and so a lot of the time they don’t have food that I am willing to try.”

     Since King is allergic to eggs, peanuts and treenuts, it is important for her to know the ingredients in her food, so she uses an app called MealViewer. MealViewer provides students with the FHS school lunch schedule, which can be helpful for students with dietary restrictions.

     “You can see what the exact ingredients are, or the nutrition values of specific foods, but they don’t update it,” King said. “I feel like they just put it in at the beginning of the year and then it’s just the scheduled food. There’s been times where it says ‘oh there’s chicken in the CCA,’ and I go and there’s no chicken.”

     For the first semester, senior Zoe McHenry, who is a vegetarian, bought school lunch. However, McHenry has started bringing lunch from home because of the limited meal options.

     “It started out OK because I could get a potato, but then it got to the point where on chicken nugget days, my lunch would literally be two pieces of garlic bread,” McHenry said.

     However, some students, like senior Kirah Fuller, think that the current food selections that FHS offers are satisfactory.

     “They have fruits and vegetables and stuff, which if you’re going with more of a plant based diet, that’s what I would probably have for lunch,” Fuller said. “I don’t exactly get the meal deal because a lot of the meals aren’t like vegetarian.”

     According to Fuller, although the current school lunch selection is good, FHS could improve their selection if they had more options.

     “The options that they have already, if they could find vegetarian versions for some of those, or plant-based versions, I think a lot of people would benefit from that,” Fuller said.

     Although bringing lunch from home provides a solution to the challenge of buying school lunch, students like McHenry have other challenges.

     “If I wake up five minutes late, and I still need to pack my lunch, that can make me late to school,” McHenry said. “Most people who bring their lunch can just say ‘oh it’s fine, I won’t pack it today, I’ll just buy it at school,’ but I don’t have that option.”