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Nutritious School Menu Win Over Teenage Taste Buds?
High School Replaces Chips With Veggies

March 1, 2004

SAN DIEGO -- Candy bars, chips and sodas are no longer an option for the students at Vista High School. That's because the school's nutritionist stepped in to make a change.

"At first they were really shocked. They were like, 'what do you mean you don't have sodas,?' You just have to tell them they're not healthy," nutritionist Enid Hohn said.

Rather than just taking away the junk, Hohn asked students what they would eat instead.

"I showed them foods like bagels and cream cheese, salads, veggie packs with ranch dressing, tuna packs, granola and yogurt for the food machines. A lot of the kids said it would be nice to have a choice," Hohn said.

Hohn also replaced sodas with waters, sports drinks, juice, and milk.

"We only have one 33-minute lunch period and there is 3,500 students on the campus, so if kids didn't get a chance to eat during that time frame, the only other choices they had available to them were sodas in the vending machines, and candy bars, and high-fat chips," Hohn said.

Profits from the vending machines sales go to the school's associated student body. So, did no junk food equal no revenue?

ASB Treasurer Aimee Call said the students still walk around with drinks and snacks, just healthier ones.

"Kids are still going to have to eat, so they'll still buy the food that's there. A lot more people have water bottles, and a lot of people buy bagels now and muffins, especially in the mornings," Call said.

Can a healthier menu win over teenage taste buds at other high schools or will the idea boil over? Helix Charter High School in La Mesa is planning making the switch to healthier foods.

"I think most people aren't looking forward to it because a lot of people depend on caffeine from sodas," Helix student Bob Feldman said.

Feldman is not optimistic about the change to healthier drinks and snacks. But his mother, who is working on the change, has hope.

"If they can do it up in Vista, I think that the kids will respond as well here at Helix," Pat Feldman said.

Rancho Buena Vista in Vista will also begin the process of phasing out junk food next year.


Lauren Ayers

James Curiel, PhD
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Educational Futures

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