Ready to Lunch

A new lunch program is being implemented at NPHS.

Jakob Fisher, Editorial Cartoonist

School lunch has a lot of regulations, but that does not mean it cannot be shaken up once in a while. North Platte has the award to prove it.

The “Taste4” program is still relatively new. North Platte Public School is one of the first 10 in the country to make the change. As an incentive to join, Sodexo has a running competition. Each week there is a featured item, the schools that sell the most of the item are awarded a cash prize. “One thing we are really proud of is the ‘Healthy High School National Challenge,’” said Sodexo’s general manager for NPPSD Larry Young. “In the past five weeks, we sold enough lunches and [snacks] to get fifth in the nation.”

Thanks to this new program by Sodexo, lunchtime has undergone some big changes. In an effort to work within government sanctions, they have shifted their focus toward marketing and recipes. “We came in just before school started to redo everything,” said Young. “These meals were picked by Sodexo chefs from across the country just to add a little variety, as well as keeping the favorites.”

According to Young, the biggest change was the implementation of different lines. The grill line is for standard sandwiches, while the adventure line has an ever changing entree. An action station is also available; alternating between Mexican and Asian food weekly. Sodexo also added a baked pasta option to the pizza line and brought back the deli. “We understand the recipes may not be to everyone’s tastes,” Young said, “so that’s why we try something different while still giving the kids their favorites.”

For the most part, the changes are not going unnoticed. Students like senior Reece Foust have taken note of the increase in quality. “[The lunches have been getting] slightly better,” said Foust. “I’m glad they brought back the [deli]. They had that my freshman year.” Junior Jayden Fowler also thinks the meals have gotten better. “They added more selection, I would call that an improvement,” said Fowler. “I’ve been here since freshman year and it has definitely gotten better.”

Trying to improve the food while fitting within the strict nutrition guidelines is a daunting task, and Young is aware of the difficulties. Oftentimes it comes down to a matter of trial and error. That is why they are trying to push their new online surveys. “Kids just tell me the food tastes like [junk],” Young said. If they gave some constructive feedback and suggestions, we would try to improve our recipes.