Healthy Changes Offered Daily
Students around Gilmour Academy have noticed some subtle and impactful meal changes over the past few years. The absence of certain meals along with the addition of other dishes have been the subject of recent discussion at tables in the Commons.
Over the past two years, AVI Food Systems (Gilmour’s food provider) has added several food options to the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
“We are always looking for feedback from students,” said Mr. Mel Weltle, the Resident Director at AVI. “We take the feedback we get from our students and make changes over the summer to implement the following year.”
AVI introduced the Signature, Fusion, and Pizza stations at lunch in 2015 to replace a more traditional selection of foods. The stations are meant to complement the salad and sandwich bars available. AVI aims to give students more options to eat as well as offer healthier options. One of Weltle’s goals in preparing food for students at a college-preparatory school is to provide choices for students so they can enjoy and appreciate the amounts and types of food they put into their bodies.
“I love how many alternative options are provided during lunches,” said Josh Socrates (‘17), “but I’ve noticed that many good items such as ice cream sundaes every Friday have been taken off of our lunch menu.”
No More Ice Cream and Sugary Cereals
The cutoff of ice cream being served every Friday is one of many things AVI has changed due to concerns for student health. Weltle explained that they have changed from ice cream to different types of fruit sorbets that are dairy free in order to serve the needs of students who can’t enjoy dairy products. Because of this, AVI has begun to serve ice cream with a fruit based cobbler every other Friday at lunch to satisfy ice cream lovers.
Students have also noticed the discontinuation of highly sugared cereal at lunch due to some consumption of solely cereal during lunches. Excessive sugar consumption has raised much concern among workers at AVI. Weltle added, “We noticed too many students just eating cereal during lunch, which concerned us due to the high amounts of sugar and lack of nutritional value.”
“We are noticing a revolution of food in schools in the United States,” stated Ms. Lina Bruscino, who has worked in the Commons for the past 19 years. She explained how health trends in the United States have begun to influence school lunches since schools in general want to provide healthy options for students that will benefit their health.
Free Choice and Empty Calories
While the changes at Gilmour are providing students with healthier options, some students are against the school shifting towards being too healthy. Payton Wetzel (‘18) said, “I feel as high schoolers, we are old enough to make our own decisions on what we put into our bodies.” Wetzel shared that students should have to take full responsibility for the food they eat. He thinks that since the majority of students eating at the Commons are teenagers on the verge of becoming adults, they should then have the freedom to choose between healthy and unhealthy foods. He said, “Let us consider what effects certain foods will ultimately have on our bodies.”
This discussion finally reached strength and conditioning coach Mr. Dan Coughlin who decided to weigh in on the situation. “I agree with the choices that have been made by the school,” he said. “With the majority of students playing some type of sport, it’s important to eliminate empty calories that make students feel full because they do not provide students with the nutrition they need to get through the rest of the day.” He emphasized how important he feels it is to get proper carbs and proteins in at lunch for all students, regardless of whether they are athletes or not, in order to truly fill their bodies with fuel for the rest of the day.
Coughlin believes food a lack of nutritional value can lead students to be out of energy as well as less engaged in class, which can ultimately hinder the time they spend in their learning environments. Though this may be true, some students argue they should be given the freedom to learn how to monitor their diets independently now in order to take responsibility for what they will have to do later in their lives.
Despite the difference of opinions over changes that have been made in Gilmour meals, the changes made in recent years have been geared towards serving food to create a happy and healthy community. Weltle reminds students to drop a suggestion or comment in the box towards the front of the Commons in order for changes to the menu to be considered.