When the RefreshMe café at McNicholas, run by the Derringer Company, opened its kiosks to students in the fall of 2011, they promised healthier options for lunch. But a year later, the healthy options are few and the ones they do offer are being overlooked.
Derringer has added a salad bar this year which is a healthy addition, but according to cafeteria manager Ms. Deb Faulkner, students still eat the less healthy food items first.
Faulkner said the most popular item is french fries, followed by cookies, chicken tenders, pizza, and then the salad bar.
Part of the problem is the presentation. When students walk into the food area, they see the drinks and fries first and then the salad bar. Soon after that, the wall of candy, which is hard to resist, comes into view. In the cooler next to the salad bar, there are more candy bars and pudding parfaits than fruit. Students will obviously be more tempted to choose the candy and sweets over the fruit.
Faulkner says that Derringer makes and packages the foods in the cold case. They cut their own meats and use only fresh items. However, first impressions make it seem more like fast food because the Styrofoam packaging combined with the convenience store set-up gives the opposite idea of fresh.
Junior Savannah Baurichter said, “It looks processed.” Faulkner insists there is only a one-day shelf life for selling or using leftovers and that the food is always fresh.
Some students want to eat the healthier foods but there are still many obstacles, especially for the vegetarians. Junior Maddie Weir, who was a vegetarian, said, “It was hard for me to find a lunch that was filling.”
The salads and fruit are the main healthy meatless options, which are a good start, but there should be more variety. Baurichter said, “The only good healthy choice is the salad. Eating the salad day after day is monotonous.”
Faulkner said that she will keep trying new items on the salad bar, but added, “It would be nice if they would skip the fries once a week and eat an apple.”