School Board Cuts out Lunch Choices

I can remember the days of walking into the cafeteria line and picking up my tray. There were no questions of what I wanted on my plate or what I planned to eat that day. I simply got my food, sat down, and ate.

Things are much different in school cafeterias today. The children walk in first thing in the morning and are given several choices for their meal that day. At 8:00 in the morning students are asked to choose between three to six meal choices. In the cafeteria the children must choose among about six different types of milk (2%, 1%, skim, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla). The children then walk through the line and get asked if they want each item on their plate. Some children may walk out with a hot dog and chocolate milk.

Most school cafeterias offer many lunch choices in order to better meet the needs of the students and to try to lure them into buying lunch at school. However, many schools also show the wide variety of food made daily to be a waste. School cafeterias are losing money on cost.

Due to the loss of money, Palo Alto school board decided that next year’s menu will look a little different for its elementary students. Elementary school students in the district will be given one choice for lunch.

Many are concerned that this will greatly limit the number of children who will eat from the cafeteria. The school board is expecting about a 15% drop in sales. While many students will probably not like the choice cut, I feel that few parents will react by sending their child’s lunch. Packing lunches and buying food items takes time. Many parents will insist that the child eat what is served. Other families who are on free and reduced lunches will be left with little choice but than to eat what is served.

I think that cutting back on choices is a good idea. I do not cook several different meals at home to accommodate everyone. Too many choices can lead to picky eater who eats a hot dog everyday for lunch. While perhaps more than one choice would be better, four and five choices are too many.

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