HHS bids goodbye to ice cream machine as part of ‘Smart’ move

A Hays High student has a bag of baked chips during lunch, a healthy snack alternative required by the new federal Smart Snacks program.

A Hays High student has a bag of baked chips during lunch, a healthy snack alternative required by the new federal Smart Snacks program.

Hays Post

Hays High School Principal Marty Straub said his students seem to be adjusting to the healthier snacks and smaller portions required by federal law in every school lunchroom this year — but is the first to admit he does miss his nearly daily indulgence from last year.

“I miss the ice cream machine, probably more than anybody in the school, and it’s is probably a good thing they took that away for me,” Straub said.

This is the first year schools across the country are implementing the Smart Snacks program,  an initiative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture designed to ensure snacks and desserts are lower in calories and smaller in portion size. Lunchrooms now provide snacks such as whole-grain cookies with reduced sugar and baked chips.

“Overall, the kids seem satisfied,” Straub said. “We really have good food here at Hays High, with lots of options. Probably the thing we miss the most — kids and adults alike — is the ice cream machine (but) those things are a thing of the past … and we need to follow the law.”

Straub added USD 489 food service did a “good job” finding tasty and healthy alternatives falling within federal guidelines such as small ice cream sandwiches and whole-grain crisped rice treats. He said the staff has had few complaints from students.

Have the students noticed a difference?

HHS principal shows off replacements to ice-cream machine

HHS principal shows off replacements to ice-cream machine.

“In the vending machines, I noticed they took out all the Shockers and that’s like really sad. That’s my favorite candy,” HHS sophomore Sally Laushbough said. “It is very noticeable.”

However, Laushbough said the changes are for the best.

“If it’s healthier and if it’s more nutritious then that is probably really good for us,” she said.

HHS junior Emily Prine also noticed the ice cream machine and candy were gone but said the change is “sort of” a good thing.

“I don’t feel we need as much candy during the day. I feel like we need more substance,” she said.

Jessica Younker, USD 489 director of nutrition services, and her staff spent much of the summer adjusting dessert recipes and finding nutritious snacks.

“Overall, I think the healthier alternatives are going over well for the students. There is always an adjustment to change, but I think the changes are a good thing overall,” she said.

Younker said she knew Straub was “a regular” at the soft-serve ice cream machine last year, noting the machine was eliminated from daily use because portion size could not be controlled.

“It’s in the warehouse, and I have already promised Mr. Straub we can bring it out for special occasions,” she laughed.

  • Big Brother watching

    More of government telling you what you can and can’t do. It’s not like the food that’s prepared there is exactly healthy anyway. Fake spongy chicken nuggets, very small, and only 5 of them to count as a meal for a high school student? They say they ‘cook’ the meals, but for example, the pizza is just premade tasteless flat cardboard thrown in an oven. It’s too bad that the government can say if you want federal funding, you need to take out your ice cream machine in the high school cafeteria. What’s next……not letting staff bring cupcakes to the lounge or have coffee at your desk?

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  • crazy guy

    I think it’s great that the government is trying to curb childhood obesity, but it’s unfortunate that the target for most people is the food kids eat. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, poor eating habits is only part of what contributes to childhood obesity. Some of the other causes include stress, lack of exercise (queue the “sports are good” people), and depression. Why can’t lobbyists and political parties focus on some of these AS WELL as food choices so that instead of taking a huge bite (hah, a pun) out of the cafeteria food, the issue can be address from multiple angles without making such drastic changes? And anyone who says that the changes aren’t drastic should read comparisons between today’s lunch menus as those of a decade ago.

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  • Lefty54

    I can’t think of any good reason for a public high school to have a soft serve ice cream machine.
    As for “the government” telling kids what to eat- every student and every parent has the right to pack a sack lunch from home if they want. Pack it full of Ho-Ho’s and Twinkies if you want. No one is being forced to eat anything.

    • Parent

      Actually, you can’t bring just anything you want. They won’t let you bring in say fast food, this includes staff. And in the past, parents have been notified that it needs to be a healthy lunch if they notice it isn’t. These are high school students! If they are paying their money for a cookie or soft serve, I don’t see an issue with it. If there is a demand and people are willing to pay for it, let them have it. My problem is when the government says you can’t have pop machines turned on during school hours, you can’t have soft serve anymore, you can’t have X amount of carbs so the ends of the hotdog buns have to be cut off and thrown in the trash (yes, this does happen in USD 489).

  • Rocket Science

    Actually they had already been choosing what your kids eat. They are just changing the options available. If you dont like it pack your kids a lunch.

  • Sarah

    It’s interesting that there’s no consideration of the fact that these are GROWING KIDS. It wasn’t that long ago that I, myself, was a student at the high school and middle school and I would have been extremely upset if my portions were changed because I already got extra because I was still hungry an hour after lunch because of how they serve foods that are empty in calories and tasteless or bland. If they aren’t providing quality food why cut out on quality? Yes you may send a sack lunch but taking a cold sandwich and a bag of chips is no more nutritional than a cardboard pizza with processed cheese and stale french fries.

  • Kansas Cherry

    It’s interesting that the kids, while missing their ice cream, admit it’s probably a good thing for their health. At the same time, adults on this forum find the negative on what, to me, seemed like a pretty positive article.

  • sam

    Let’s blame this on sports….seems everything so far that has to do with USD has been blamed on sports…can you feel the sarcasm?

  • HHSkid

    As a sudent a HHS I will say I want it back you get the same amount of suger in the other foods its just how fast it kicks in I studied this I kind of know what I’m talking about here and the ice cream keeps aimed kids awake I’ve noticed more kids falling asleep in class