Popular items may come at nutritional high price
By Dallas Ducar ’10
Chicken tenders, pizza and soda have been staples at Michael’s for the last four years, but more recently healthier alternatives have found their way onto the food provider’s menu.
The healthy options may not be as appealing to students as the standard lunchtime fare, but the options are in place. These include yogurt parfait, mixed fruit cups and garden salad.
Mr. Chris White, a health and sports medicine teacher, said he understands students may be more tempted to choose pizza over yogurt, but still would like to see more healthier alternatives offered.
“If it were up to me I would like to get rid of all high sugar items,” Mr. White said. “I believe it drastically affects emotions, behavior, energy levels and the capacity to learn.”
When asked how the lunch provider selects the items for the menu, Chef David Knotter explained that it has been based off of trial and error, like many other restaurants.
Chef Knotter said he recognizes the unhealthiness in some of the food that students often choose.
“I know there are kids here who eat a pizza every day … it’s a high starch, high fat, high salt food and it is not good for you,” Chef Knotter said.
Mr. White’s health class surveyed the main courses, snacks and drinks that are provided in the Great Hall to compile all the nutritional information behind what is being served.
Mr. White noted that he would like to see Michael’s following the same health standards set by the Arizona Department of Education.
More than half of the snacks on Michael’s menu are over the 400 gram maximum amount of calories per serving based on standards set by the ADE.
As for entrees, both chicken tenders and the six inch pepperoni pizza are over the maximum amount of 300 calories per serving.
Chef Knotter said when asked about these results Brophy and Michael’s are private institutions and do not need to abide by ADE regulations.
Furthermore, Chef Knotter said that other restaurants such as Jack in the Box and Wendy’s do not follow these same nutritional guidelines, however students still choose to eat there.
Mr. White said calories and fat are another concern.
“A muffin has 440 calories and a pepperoni pizza has 723 calories … pepperoni pizza has about 28 grams of fat while a cheese pizza only has nine grams,” he said.
“Even a bean and cheese burrito is a healthier alternative,” Mr. White said.
Chef Knotter said ideally, students would opt for healthier choices.
“Naked Juice, fruit cups, yogurt parfaits are all healthy alternatives. It’s not mandatory that you guys buy these items but we think that is what we should be doing,” he said.
Chef Knotter added that Chef Michael DeMaria, whom the restaurant is named after, has recently lost 50 pounds and has expressed interest in helping Brophy students learn more about what they are eating.
Chef DeMaria is very interested in educating the students and restructuring the lunch menu to allow for many more healthy alternatives.
“Maybe we could start out the next school year and have a program where Chef Michael could come teach and try to provide healthier foods,” said Director of Facilities and Food Services Ms. Sherri Stephens.
Mr. White said he would be more than willing to work with Michael’s to provide healthier alternatives.
However, both Chef Knotter and Ms. Stephens said that change would most likely have to come from either the administration or the students themselves.
“If Michael’s was asked by the administration to work at providing a healthier menu … they would be willing to do that,” Ms. Stephens said.
When asked if Michael’s would support a few completely healthy days as a trial run for healthier foods and education, both Ms. Stephens and Chef Knotter said they would offer their support for the program.
To find out more about state nutritional requirements visit www.ade.state.az.us.