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The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

FCPS makes healthier lunch menu changes

Lunch lady Amy Byanbaa making a chicken wrap for junior Jeremiah Huggins during C lunch. (Huda Noorzai)

 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) held its “Future of FCPS Student Food Show” hosted by the Office of Food and Nutrition Services on Nov. 13, inviting students and staff from 24 different school levels. Their new food service team plans focus on student health, saying “goodbye” to processed and unhealthy foods.

“I think adding a variety of foods to the lunch menu is good for the school and it’s good to try new stuff instead of eating the same food everyday,”  sophomore Caroline Ryder said.

Some foods sampled in the food show included Nashville-style hot chicken tacos, picadillo, Mexican corn and a fruit smoothie. Other meals included Korean-style barbecue chicken, Bulgogi bowls, Greek-inspired turkey gyros and arepas. FCPS also offered vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher options, and is planning to implement these choices in the upcoming years, per FCPS.  

“I think adding food that is inclusive to everyone would impact the school in a positive way,” freshman Maya Basalaki said. “I know there are a lot of Muslims in the school and adding halal options would be inclusive to many people.”

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Currently FCPS serves nachos, cheese sticks, hamburgers, cheeseburgers  and other similar foods.These items in school lunches are often unhealthy, high in sugar, fat and salt, per UC Davis

“I don’t like hamburgers or cheeseburgers,” freshman Emma Manning said. “I think they should make their foods healthier and better tasting. Right now the salad bar is something healthy and enjoyable we have, but I would like to see more additions to the menu that are healthy.” 

At the end of the event, students and faculty gave their opinions on individual items. Food and Nutrition Services received 2,500 responses that would help them decide which items to include in the menu at schools

“The wrap/salad bar gives students options on what they want to add and the options are healthy and fresh,” junior Hala Younes said.

According to FCPS, Shaun Sawko, the new head of the Food and Nutrition services, is focusing on making food with fresh ingredients and plans to strengthen relationships with local farms and producers. Sawko plans to make food more inclusive to families that eat with dietary restrictions. 

“I usually buy the chicken wrap from the salad bar. I feel like adding the salad/wrap bar was a good addition to the school menu. It’s healthier, fresh and better tasting” freshman Michelle Ossa said.

 Some of the new foods that Sawko and his team have added  with the start of the 2023-2024 school year include black bean burgers, chicken parmesan sandwiches, chicken fajitas, meatball marinara subs, fresh garden vegetable flatbread, BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches.Inspired by students from Franklin Middle School, they also implemented a new vegejita wrapadilla with bell peppers, tomatoes and onions stuffed in a quesadilla.

“I think it’s good they’re incorporating more things to eat so that students don’t get bored of the menu,”  Younes said. “ It’s good that they’re trying to have people eat healthy because sometimes it’s hard for people to do.”  

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Huda Noorzai, Staff Writer
Huda is a freshman in her first year with The Purple Tide. She loves to listen to music. Some genres she listens to include R&B, rap and hip hop. She enjoys playing soccer and is also a Madrid fan. She is interested to learn more about journalism and maybe pursue it as a career. Huda is excited to be on the TPT team and explore more about journalism.
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