Healthy or Hurtful? New laws affect everyday choices


Shelby Smith

The new whole grain rice krispies in the vending machine.

The bright beginning of the new school year this year was dampened by the severe new restrictions on school meals and snacks made by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

 The long-held tradition of fundraising bake sales at Adams are now against the law thanks to the new “Smart Snack” policy. While snacks are technically still allowed to be sold in schools, the new requirements make it virtually impossible to sell any food besides an apple or some celery…and who really wants to pay for that?

Every student at Adams has, at some point, bought a cupcake from the Interact Club, a piece of pizza from Student Council, or the weekly Friday doughnut from Frau Barner. Bake sales at Adams have been major revenue for Student Council, clubs, and even charities.

Frau Barner, who previously sold treats on a daily basis, sent all profits to Habitat for Humanity, a charity
that works tirelessly to ensure everyone has a decent place to live. Last year, she raised $14,600 for the charity. Habitat for
Humanity will surely suffer a loss this year from losing Frau Barner’s contributions. Additionally, students will lose the
opportunity to participate in something bigger than themselves.

Each year Charity Week is a much anticipated event at Adams. A large part of this week features bake sales held by not only clubs and Student Council, but also by many teachers individually. All profits from these sales go towards whichever charity is chosen that year. Each year, Charity Week raises thousands of dollars. This year, that number may be significantly lower, as there is no longer a delicious incentive.

Yes, it would be wonderful if every student here would willingly give their money to charity and get nothing in return, but  sadly, that is not the case.

In addition to the “Smart Snack” policy, even more restrictions  have been placed on school lunches. These supposedly “healthy” new lunches are just as measly and unappetizing as ever. Many Adams students pack their lunches due to the poor
quality of school lunch.

Lunches are required to include fruit and vegetable; however, the fruit provided by the school is far from appetizing and almost always ends up in the trash can, uneaten.

If the school lunches lived up to the expectations of the new laws, students might actually consider eating them, but that is a big “if”. Throughout the years, the school lunches have made multiple changes in the stride toward higher quality, “healthier” lunches. However, it seems as though the food is getting increasingly worse. Portions continue to drop, often leaving one’s hunger unsatisfied after consuming their meal, and the supposedly healthier foods are even more unappealing than ever. If
the school were to provide a lunch that, while being healthy, is also high quality and good tasting, then students may actually buy them.

The new lunches are supposed to improve the health of high school students, but a small percentage of students actually buy their lunch from the school, and the law does not affect what students can bring from home.

Students can still eat Oreos and Twinkies if they wish, as long as they are brought from home. So, in reality, students will be as healthy or unhealthy as they want. Good decision making is not something that can be legislated. Setting new “Smart Snack” standards and lunch restrictions cease to change child obesity problems. Students who wish to make poor diet choices will find other ways to do so if they can no longer buy unhealthy items at school. Changing school regulations will not fix child obesity. What it will do, however, is keep certain students from occasionally rewarding themselves with a sweet treat and profoundly decrease the number of student involvement in charitable events sponsored by the school, leading to less dollars raised.