Whats for Lunch?
With a wider array of options than ever before - from fresh waffles and homemade soup to sub sandwiches and vegetarian dishes - Superior High School offers a little something for everyone. Some teens choose to try international offerings like sus...
With a wider array of options than ever before - from fresh waffles and homemade soup to sub sandwiches and vegetarian dishes - Superior High School offers a little something for everyone. Some teens choose to try international offerings like sushi and sweet and sour chicken. Others stick to pizza or burgers. Cereal is available for lunch as well as breakfast.
Although there's plenty to choose from, some teens walk past the check-out registers empty-handed. Even during breakfast, which is free for all students.
"Come on, just eat something," urged Jeanne Hopkins, food service director for the district, as she manned a register Tuesday morning.
If they weren't hungry, she said, they could still pick up something like a pack of Pop Tarts.
"Save it for later," Hopkins said.
"Or give it to a friend," said Sharon LaValley, SHS cook manager.
At the other end of the building in the concession stand, food service worker Chuck Jenlen handed out cereal, muffins and milk to youth. The grab-and-go station tends to attract youth who are in sports or who come in through the 28th Street doors. Up to 150 teens stop by the site every morning.
It's important for youth to fuel up at the start of the day, Jenlen said, so they are more alert in class.
"They're smarter if they eat breakfast," he said.
One of the newest items on the menu - waffles -- is getting good reviews. For breakfast and lunch, a row of waffle irons stand ready for action in the main cafeteria. Youth can pour a cup of pre-measured batter into the iron, follow directions, and end up with a golden, steamy meal.
"Everyone's saying it's like a hotel," said Kylie Yadon, an assistant cook at SHS.
Before breakfast was free, about 320 students ate breakfast at the high school each day, La Valley said. By the end of the 2008-09 school year, she said, "we were up to 700 to 800 kids for breakfast."
Lunch is still the most popular meal. One day last week, 1,006 students - about 75 percent of the student body -- ate school lunch.
In addition to lunch and breakfast, the school offers a la carte food options for students at 3 p.m. Teens involved in after-school sports or clubs often stop by for a snack at that time, Hopkins said.
The cafeteria layout has changed this year. The snack bar, where students could grab a sports drink or cookie, is gone. A la carte items are still available, but students have to walk past all the other offerings to get them.
"We're hoping students who came in for that cookie before will now take a meal," Hopkins said.
Five registers are set up to speed students along, but some students noted that the set-up is crowded.
La Valley was quick to dispel one urban rumor - that the food runs out by C lunch, which takes place from 11:56 to 12:26.
"C lunch has all the same choices as A lunch," she said. They include salad, soup, cereal, hot entrees, pizza, sub sandwiches and waffles. Even the old standard, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, is available.
Sometimes the hot entrée may be gone, La Valley said, but they still have seven other choices. And a simple question could help.
"We have the food," Hopkins said, but "It's very hectic at lunch time." If students don't see something out that is supposed to be, they should ask one of the staff if there's more.
The food is nutritious as well as diverse. Low-fat cheese tops the pizza; the soups are loaded up with fresh vegetables; fries are cooked in the oven; buns and bread are whole-grain. Even the chocolate milk is skim. The staff comes up with new items like popcorn chicken and gyros on a regular basis. But if they fizzle, the items are pulled from future menus.
And local produce is incorporated into the meals. A farmer in Iron River provides some of the items. School vendor Upper Lakes Foods also purchases locally grown food and delivers it to schools.
"We also take donations from anyone's garden," Hopkins noted. "Some items we are currently using are apples, corn, tomatoes and lettuce. We would like zuchinni and squash."
Parents can still add money to student lunch accounts at the district office, but payment can also be taken online at https://www.mylunchmoney.com/or at the SHS cafeteria registers.