The Cardinal

School lunches limit choices for students with dietary restrictions

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Celiac Disease, lactose intolerance, vegetarianism, and nut allergies are just some of the many food allergies and dietary restrictions that we are used to hearing about. We all know someone with some type of eating restriction, but how often do we try to help accommodate them?

To those without dietary restrictions, it may come as a shock to hear that “more than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions,” according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

Imagine having to get lunch at school with one of these hypersensitivities. How many options would be available?

When asked about her thoughts on school lunches, Lauren Johnson – a CHS student with Celiac Disease – said, “They basically cater to people with no allergies, so – no – they aren’t completely fair.” 

A typical lunch week may include pasta line, panini line, pizza day, build a burger, or chicken sandwiches. Although the CHS food service staff  works hard to provide a menu that meets the federal requirements, for those students that need gluten free options, buying lunch can be a challenge. When a student is unable to eat bread…paninis, pizza, burgers, and breaded chicken sandwiches are no longer an option.

Until restrictions on school lunches are relaxed, students like Lauren are left to pack their lunch or take their chances, in hopes of finding enough that they CAN eat to satisfy their appetite.


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School lunches limit choices for students with dietary restrictions