Coffee drinking, vegetarianism among trends showing up in the cafeteria

Fads and their affects on school lunches.


Fads and their affects on school lunches.

Rachael Kluba, Staff Reporter

High school is a time for people to try new things and become interested in new fads like drinking coffee, trying a gluten-free diet, becoming a vegetarian or even being a vegan. This year, Caribou Coffee was introduced into RB’s cafeteria.

“The coffee drinkers will like it even with a cost increase,” said head chef Dawn Ives.

Coffee drinkers that love their coffee did not mind the 25-cent difference.  Jamba Juice, another new entry to the RB lunch menu, has not been as popular as coffee and fizzled out after a time.

“No one was buying it,” said Ives.

When teenagers start drinking coffee frequently at a younger age, they can start developing a higher tolerance to coffee and caffeine.  However, the consequences of this diet change depend on the student and the amount of coffee they drink.

“Everything in moderation,” said Health teacher William Frey.

Coffee has actually been declared a banned drug by the NCAA (National College Athletic Association) and the IOC (International Olympic Committee).  Because coffee is a stimulant that allows for greater blood flow which can increase an athlete’s endurance, both organizations consider it to be a performance enhancer.

However, coffee addiction isn’t the only diet change showing its face at RB.  Some students are increasingly choosing to be vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.  While some may make these choices for health reasons, others do not.

“Most teenagers do not eat healthy,” said Frey.

To be a vegetarian and be healthy, students cannot just eat lettuce, according to Frey.  A well prepared meal takes time.  Just as Frey believes you should never skip breakfast, you should not avoid quality food just because there is a lack of time.

Going gluten-free is one of the newest dietary trends.  Gluten is the protein found in wheat.  Going gluten-free requires students to avoid all products with any type of wheat in them, including barley, rye, and triticale.  Going gluten-free is the only proven treatment for people suffering from celiac’s disease.  However, Frey underscores that the benefits of going gluten-free, if you do not have a celiac’s diagnosis, are still in doubt.

“There is nothing in research that shows a gluten-free diet is a benefit,” he said.

Frey acknowledges that choices like being vegetarian or gluten-free can become part of a healthy lifestyle if students work at them.

“Education is key,” said Frey.

There are books, websites, magazines and more on everything and anything involving nutrition and fad diets that can inform the public on these matters.