Food for thought

Feature Photo By: Cinnamon Wilson- Cafeteria staff manager, Deeana Johnson, handed out lunch to students during A and B lunch. Johnson takes pride in getting to know the students here at Rangeview. 

By: Kenya Lee and Cinnamon Wilson, Review Staff

A story that was meant to reveal whether or not the food the students eat for breakfast and lunch at Rangeview is the same food given to the county jail soon took a different direction. It was about time to put the so called rumors to rest.

The cafeteria staff comes in to Rangeview’s kitchen at around 6:30 AM to prepare lunches for four different schools. Not do only they cook for Rangeview, but they make lunch for  Axl Academy, Montessori del Mundo, and Global east and west campuses.  By 9:00 AM,1,000 to 1,300 meals are made in that time period for other schools and must be ready for delivery. The cafeteria workers then have around an hour and half to prepare meals for the Rangeview students.

“We [cafeteria staff ] actually don’t work for Rangeview, we work for the company Nutritional Service,”  says Johnson. “Nutritional Services is actually a bakery specifically made for Aurora Public Schools. We make all the bread items there except the hot dog buns.”

Many students are unaware that the lunch ladies make the food from scratch.

Students may also be wondering what actually happens behind the lunch counter. Deeana Johnson is the staff manager at Rangeview. This is her first year with the Raider community, However, she’s been with APS for eight years and has received plenty of comments daily about the lunch.

“I take pride in the food I make and I want the students to know that,” says Johnson.

Pizza was offered to students during lunch. Deeana Johnson and the other cafeteria staff members make the food from scratch. (Cinnamon Wilson)

Many students bring their own lunch due to not being able to afford the school lunches. However, if a student can’t pay for lunch, the school won’t deny them food, it will just continue adding on to their account.

One of Rangeview’s deans, Mr. Anderson, believes there’s too much bread and too many calories; many students don’t care about the calories they just care about the flavor, and some people would agree with his opinion on too much bread .

“I don’t eat processed food, and I don’t want processed food,” says Anderson.  “If God didn’t make it I don’t wanna eat it.”

However, it turns out  that not all the cafeteria food is processed like Anderson believes.

“All the beef is high quality,” says Johnson,“[It’s] angus beef, 90% lean beef.”

Some students wouldn’t believe this is a true statement considering mystery meat has created a reputation around the school.

To some students and staff at Rangeview, the food might taste flavorless. That’s because the lunch employees have regulations and rules to follow when it comes to seasoning and flavors.

Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, that past in 2010, allowed  kids to fund for federal school meals and child nutrition programs as well as increases access to healthy food for low-income children. The bill that reauthorizes these programs is often referred to by shorthand as the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill.  This act is why students are not allowed to have salt or pepper and why students are required to take a fruit or vegetable with their meal.

Benefits regarding the act will not only be affordable for students but it helps the schools financially. To read more about the healthy hunger free kids act, click here.

“We are only allowed to season the food with spices and herbs. And we have a limit on the amount of salt we add to the food.” says Johnson. “Students are used to the taste of salt, so when they eat the food and they don’t like it, it’s usually because they don’t taste that salt that they’re used to at home.”

Just because the lunch ladies are not allowed to add salt to the food doesn’t mean the students aren’t allowed to right?

If you were thinking yes, well think again. Students are not allowed to add additional seasonings due to the mess that they create.

Although some students believe that Rangeview charges too much for breakfast and lunch, due to the budget cuts that are in action. (To read more about the budget cuts, click here)

A lot of students have complained that the food is unbearable although many may not realize how hard the cafeteria employees work.

“One way we can improve the lunch food is having more nutrition and a larger serving size,” says junior Sean Hackworth. “We don’t have a full nutritional value or a plan, so, the values don’t quite add up to what they might if they were to follow Michelle Obama on what she was trying to do. It’s important stuff, my dudes.”

Some ways to improve school lunches according to www.nwf.org:

  1. Establish an edible garden at your school
  2. Pay a little more for better equality
  3. Work with the administration and cafeteria staff to come up with a compromise  
  4. Set standards for foods and beverages sold outside the school cafeteria.
  5. More nutrition and and larger serving sizes would be nice

Although this story was built upon a rumor, it took a turn for the truth and that was the food we eat is not the same as the jails, it is handmade and cooked by the cafeteria staff who work long hours .


To learn more you can go to these link:

https://www.nwf.org/Eco-Schools-USA/Become-an-Eco-School/Pathways/Sustainable-Food/Tips.aspx

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-improve-american-school-lunches/

https://www.fns.usda.gov/tags/healthy-hunger-free-kids-act-0

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