By Micaela Michalk
A new school year has arrived, full of different friends, classes, outfits and….food. Visible disappointment washed over excited freshmen when they realized they could not sip the cappuccinos from the coffee shop. Many students stared shockingly upon the downsized cookies and smoothies. Chefs are cooking the food differently. Wheat replaces white. Nonfat replaces reduced fat. Vending machines lack the mouthwatering chocolate. Why are all these changes being made? The answer lies with the nation’s first lady, Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama worked hard over the last couple of years to advocate healthier school lunches. So far, California, Florida, Hawaii, and New York have enforced the "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010" while Georgia, Iowa, and Ohio have passed similar resolutions. Even more states will soon take it to effect as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases guidance to state agencies and school food authorities. "The goal is aimed at curbing junk food fundraisers," claims Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in Public Interest. "It makes sense she (Michelle Obama) would want this stuff for little kids but not high school teenagers! Plus we won’t be able to make as much money for Spanish club," a freshman, Amanda Johnson, stubbornly counters. Advantages have, though, originated from this act. For example, it increased the number of kids who are eligible for free or reduced cost meals. Plus, it established good nutrition standards and extended the after-school snack program so that hungry children could receive a third meal. For those who suffer from lactose intolerance or other allergies, non-dairy milk alternatives are provided. Most of the laws inside the bill do not apply to after-school activities. "Just because the junk food isn’t at school, it doesn’t mean we don’t have it at home." Katelyn Ickes argues, missing the sweets the school used to offer. The bill does have various disadvantages, like most issues. For instance, the 4.5 billion cost of the bill takes 2.2 billion dollars out of food stamp programs for starving families. The cost is close to nothing, though, compared to the 147 billion dollars spent each year on medical costs due to obesity-related problems. Another disadvantage is the absence of certain food and drinks that profited the school most, like the cappuccinos. "There’s a big content on drinks," admits Lake’s principal, Mr. Tobin, referring to the controversy of what can and cannot be sold. Because of sugar, carbohydrates, and sodium, many of the beverages had to be cut from the menu. One new drink, however, is the Arnold Palmer, which has 40% less sugar and half the calories of the original can. The food service director, Dave Lloyd, also has to face the difficulty of the newer changes. "I think this affects our department the most, and it is has been very challenging to find products that students want, while meeting the new codes." Jessica Marino looks upon these codes with disgust. She wants to maintain her independence, including the choices with food. "We’re in high school; we should be able to make our own decisions." Even more students throughout Lake High School wish they could still enjoy the luxuries of sugar-coated, chocolate, or fried food during school hours. "The final decision whether to take up the sugar-filled coffee or candy bar should be up to us, not them," Megan Borocki contends. Nevertheless, some of the changes are better for our well-being, such as the allergy alternatives. Then again, the students also prove a point. Feeling like the colonists being taxed without representation, a number of high school students feel their freedom slipping from them. There is a fine line between protecting and overbearing. As the "Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids" Act sweeps the nation, many cannot help but wonder: What will the next change be?