Food service director makes big changes to the menu

Rachel Cichon, Staff Writer

360_tray_war_0818By Staff Writer: Rachel Cichon

At first glance, the cafeteria of Howell High School may not look any different from years past. It is still crowded, and at times, difficult to maneuver through, full of students buying lunch, talking with friends or pulling chairs over to tables that were not designed to seat so many people.

Workers from the Kilt Shack still mill around the lunchroom in search of someone who will buy their cookies and other products. Condiments, wrappers and any food that possesses an aerodynamic quality still soar over tables  and litter the floor as they always have.

However, one big change has occurred, and that is the quality of the food. HHS’s food service director, Sharon Lenard, is now in charge of the menu and is embarking on a quest to serve food that is both healthy and delicious.

The food at HHS has certainly never been quite as bad as the stereotypical, gross lunches depicted in films and novels. Students have never been served anything completely ludicrous, such as a meatloaf surprise or a soup with unidentifiable chunks of food swirling about, but most will admit that they have, at times, questioned the quality of their meal.

This year brought a big surprise for the students who buy lunch at school, as the meals have certainly improved. The change that has most people raving is the introduction of stir-fry to the menu. Stir fry is a Chinese dish made from vegetables and meats that is stirred continuously in high heat.

Since the start of the year, the stir fry line has undoubtedly become the most crowded area of the cafeteria, as flocks of students give up on their burgers and pizza for the unique and tasty dish.

“Stir fry is the best thing to happen to Howell High!” says HHS junior Kristen Breaks, one of many who are welcoming the new change.

Lenard, who has been working as a school food service director since 1996 but has only now become the head of the menu, is the driving force behind this innovative change. Stir fry isn’t the only addition she is making, she plans on gradually improving the meals to much healthier and tastier choices, although this won’t be a rapid project, as she doesn’t want to overwhelm the cooks.

Lenard is beginning her health revolution with the main courses, and will likely make some healthier replacements to the snack line too. Her next project is incorporating picante into the Mexican line, along with a choice of nachos, soft shell tacos, a taco bowl with chicken fajita or taco meats along with fresh vegetable toppings, including jalapeños. Vegetables are one of Lenard’s key focuses for the new menu and she plans on serving a wide variety of them.

Lenard’s determination to create a healthier lunch for students stems from her daughter, who began to gain weight during her teen years. Her daughter did overcome this later in life, but her struggle inspired Lenard to fight child obesity with healthy choices for lunch.

Lenard also acknowledges that simply making healthy food isn’t necessarily going to make students eat it, which is why she’s making these interesting and tasty additions to the menu. She believes that the students deserve to have lots of healthy choices, and that they should be served food that they will actually enjoy and willingly eat.

Any student who feels wary about eating cafeteria food should be at ease knowing that Lenard is in charge of their meals, and shouldn’t fear trying any of the new additions that will soon be coming to the cafeteria. Lenard’s menu was written for the benefit of the students, and her health revolution is only beginning.

“Considering child obesity, I want to give the students healthier food that they will actually want to eat. Kids who are struggling with their weight shouldn’t have to come to school and not have healthy choices,” says Lenard.