OPPA officials in the Smithville School District have talked of making multiple changes at the high school, creating new breakfast programs, OPPA to-go’s, and having more options available for vegetarian students. A survey was sent out to high school students on March 13, asking for input on new ideas to improve the OPPA program.
The current OPPA menu contains primarily meat options, leaving the vegetarian student to fend for themselves by bringing their own lunch.
“I usually bring my own lunch because the school doesn’t provide any options,” said sophomore, Jordyn Navarro.
Navarro, like many students at the high school, chooses to live a vegan lifestyle, which bars her from eating any animal products from meat, eggs and dairy, and even products containing animal fats or oils such as gelatin, salad dressings, and many fried foods. Though there currently aren’t many designated meatless options on the menu, there are a few options that are available for vegetarians. A salad bar is provided when going through the lunch line labeled “meatless option”.
Vegetarian students aren’t the only ones conflicted with not being able to eat school food, students with specific dietary needs and allergies, such as gluten free, dairy free, etc., feel the same as well.
“I’m allergic to dairy and egg white, and have a gluten intolerance,” said freshman, Delaney Bragg. “I can purchase food, but it’s usually not the best.”
Many students would purchase a school lunch, but their dietary needs restrict them from ever doing so.
“I think I would [buy a school lunch] when I’m really hungry. I have the money it’s just there are no options,” said Navarro. “So I guess, yes, If they did have more options I would probably buy a school lunch.”
Though many students believe they are unable to eat school food, OPPA has stated they are willing to purchase and prepare certain food items to accommodate students.
“We try to work in areas so everyone is covered, everyone has a choice. With our dairy free, we supply soy milk for those kids,” said OPPA DNS, Katrina Griffin. “We make sure that no matter what they have if it’s made with anything dairy, we do dairy-free cheese, as a matter of fact, on some of the pizzas for the dairy free kids.”
The future of OPPA food service here at Smithville High School is looking up, hoping to accommodate vegan and vegetarian students, implement new breakfast programs, and have many more options available for all students with specific dietary needs.