The Milken Diet

Gabi Kamran

Staff Writer

“At Vicki’s Lunchbox, we support and encourage our children to make smart food choices, empowering them to embrace a healthy lifestyle,” reads the Vicki’s Lunchbox website.

Smart food choices? Healthy lifestyle? Vicki’s Lunchbox? Those things definitely don’t belong in the same sentence. Every day when lunchtime rolls around, the campus is filled with clear plastic lunch containers. But the food in those containers is far from healthy. Fries, hamburgers, chicken strips, pastrami sandwiches — it all reads like the menu of a local fast food restaurant. There’s always a salad bar option, but each day the wilting lettuce sits lonely in the corner. It’s obvious that when given the choice between healthy and unhealthy, the majority of students are not able to make the smarter decision.

Maybe students don’t realize how unwise their decision really is. A three piece serving of chicken tenders can add up to 741 calories, 44.3g of fat, and 222 mg of cholesterol (that’s 74% of your daily value!). Add a serving of fries and you have a meal that’s the opposite of healthy.

We see a similar pattern in the Milken Mart. Students are free to buy ice cream, candy, sugary drinks and instant noodle soups on a daily basis. Bagels and Snapple have become staples in the diet of the Milken student. Chava’s fruit is a nutritious alternative during snack time, but it is not available year round. And Fern is not completely at fault either. Healthy options like apple chips and yogurt do hide among the Bissli and chocolate spread, but how often do you see students lounging around with a bag of freeze-dried apples?

It raises the question: as a school that genuinely cares about the well being of its students and faculty, why does Milken tempt its students with an endless array of unhealthy foods? Should the school be more forceful in guiding students toward a nutritious lifestyle?

Gary Shapiro, Jewish Studies teacher, also wonders if the school can do more. “One of the things that struck me the most about our school lunch is how often and how much there are fries. I’ve also seen hamburgers and hot dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I love those things. I’m not against eating them. It just makes me question why they get served so much to students and teachers,” he said.

Ariel Bina ’15 notes that the salad bar also fails to provide an exciting variety of healthy lunch options. “I think it would be better to have more salad options,” she said, “I personally like to keep healthy, and to be honest the school lunch makes that a little difficult.”

Stephanie Monteleone, Health teacher, has noticed a similar lack of diversity in student’s snack choices at the Milken Mart . “From a nutrition standpoint, the snacks that I see coming out of the Milken Mart are discouraging,” she said. “I see a lot of refined sugar, a lot of salt, and a lot of high fat items.”

Monteleone agrees that this is something that should change. “I think there are a lot of students who would buy the healthy options if they were available, especially if the unhealthy options were not available.” she said.

Ariel Bina confirms Monteleone’s theory. “I don’t shop at the Milken Mart that much because there are not that many healthy options. If they did offer more healthy options, I would feel less guilty about buying food from there.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time Milken Community High School went on a diet. We need to stop the endless stream of fries, noodle soups, and Fruity Pebbles. Milken strives to prepare its students to make smart decisions in the future. Why shouldn’t that apply to the lunchroom as well as the classroom?