A student’s guide to the school cafeteria

October 7, 2019

Many students have trouble maintaining or starting a healthy lifestyle at school. Most school cafeteria options are high in fat, calories, and sodium. Students can choose healthier options, but those options are limited. With cafeteria food often entailing many unhealthy meals, students must navigate their cafeteria in order to find healthier options.

First, students can start by researching what lunch options are best. The Edina Public Schools lunch provider, Chartwells, gives nutritional information for every food item on their menu. For example, five chicken nuggets contain 260 calories, 15 grams of fat, 400 milligrams of sodium, and 16 grams of carbs, according to nutrislice.com. The school nuggets are nutritionally worse for you than the nuggets McDonald’s provides. Four McDonald’s nuggets are 180 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 11 grams of carbs, according to Mcdonalds. This highlights how important it is for students to research their food options and determine what if best for their health. Students do not need to eliminate every bad lunch option but should consider picking a healthier option every few days.

However, according to Healthline, sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices are unhealthy. This is mainly due to the fact that the calories from these artificial drinks do not get processed by the brain as nutrients and energy. The cafeteria sells many of these drinks, such as Izzy’s, flavored Snapple, Capri Sun and various fruit juices. Based on that information, students can easily alter their diet in a healthier way by ditching these artificial sugary drinks for water or a fruit smoothie. 

The EHS cafeteria also provides healthy options for those looking to better their eating habits in school, including a salad bar with a variety of lettuce, toppings, and dressings. Additionally, the cafeteria has fruit and vegetable cups at every food station. For those trying to add some nutrients to their lunch, picking up a vegetable or fruit cup can help you keep a healthy lifestyle at school. 

Above all, students do not need to completely alter their diets to live a healthy lifestyle. Making small changes can make a big difference, especially at school, where some options are much healthier than others.

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