Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School students continue to enjoy a wide variety of healthy and satisfying meals in the cafeteria, according to officials with Aramark Education, the management company that operates the Lincoln-Sudbury food service program. They said they offer a minimum of 25 entrees to help every student find a meal that meets his or her individual needs and tastes.
Popular options include the fruit and yogurt bar, a new whole wheat pizza, a made-to-order burrito bar, and soup and salad combos, such as a tomato soup and grilled cheese offering on Wednesdays, said Bob Harden, food service manager with Aramark. He said specials change frequently so that students can have their favorites and also try something new.
He said vegetables that were previously served in a half cup portion size now come in a full cup.
“Students are doing a good job of choosing fruits and vegetables, but there are sometimes complaints about the meat and bread portion size, meaning they are looking for more,” said Harden. He mentioned competitive athletes in particular are often looking for larger portions to sustain them throughout the day.
“Or anybody who’s growing at all,” added Board Chair Nancy Marshall about some students’ desire for meals that are more calorie-rich.
Aramark is required to adhere to various state standards aimed at controlling calories in a time when health officials are focusing on anti-obesity efforts for young people. The meat and bread portions offered at the deli bar that some students feel are too small are set by state regulation that limits calories, fat and sodium in foods served in school cafeterias.
They are serving smaller bagels then they were in past, Harden said. The new bagels are a 2-ounce size. Aramark offers juices in a 4-ounce size that is too small to normally be sold in grocery stores, officials said. They said beverages, like food, have to comply with standards set by the state. Aramark offers milk and unflavored water and does not sell caffeinated beverages.
Harden said Aramark also puts a high priority on safety, due to the presence of knives and heat and the possibility of slips and falls.
“Kitchens can be very dangerous places. Over 20 years, I’ve seen serious accidents and silly accidents,” Harden said. He said weekly assessments help reduce those risks. Aramark consistently passes health and safety inspections, including one that took place just a few weeks ago, Harden said.
“Everyone is knowledgeable about preparing safe meals,” he said.
Harden said Aramark’s efforts to be a good community member include a recycling program, annual scholarships, assistance for a local military family, and recognition of employees for track records of safety. They recently recognized Barbara Feely, who’s worked in the cafeteria for 27 years, Harden said.
In addition, he said Aramark officials regularly take questions from parents and students about nutrition, and are open for suggestions about new dishes students would like to see served in the cafeteria.