*EAT THIS NOT THAT…..New Grab-N-Go Healthy Breakfast Vs. Hot Chocolate Cookie Brownie Sales

Marieliza Alvarado + Newspaper Staff, Journalist

On Thursday, January 9th, 2020, our school began an new initiative with Sodexo to provide a healthy jump start to the day with a “Grab-N-Go” quick breakfast.    Many students come to school late, and unfortunately they do not have time to eat breakfast at home and when they arrive to school the cafeteria is often closed because breakfast time has passed.  Therefore to give those late students a ‘2nd chance’ to eat, Sodexo is starting a new program for an extra 25 minutes, for students to grab and go, and bring their breakfast to class.

This initiative is competition of sorts for an ever growing line of students arriving late to class due to a growing line at the hot chocolate, cookies, and brownie cart that is set up in the hallway.    The cart has great intentions as they are raising money for a cruise in April to Jamaica; however, the choices on that cart are not the healthiest choices.  As an alternative to those choices we are more than happy that Sodexo has worked with JSEC and 360 High Schools to provide this much healthier alternative.  Also the Sodexo items are free.

The first day of the program was exciting, we had so many people come over to the “Grab-N-G0” table, and Sodexo was amazing, they even brought local military personel to hand out breakfast items.  Items included oranges, milk, apple juice, healthy rice crispy treats, and other items all packaged nicely in a “Grab-N-Go” bag.  There was a line at the table, it was so refreshing to see kids running over and excited to make healthy choices.

At the end of the day its all about choices.  Here is an approximation of some of the not so healthy choices being offered here:  HOT CHOCOLATE TABLE vs. SODEXO GRAB-N-GO TABLE.

570 Calories: Hot Chocolate with whipped cream. 33 grams carbs. 46 grams fat. 11 grams protein. 1 grams fiber.

227 Calories: Brownie Calorie breakdown: 35% fat, 61% carbs, 5% protein.

210 Calories: Chocolate Chip Cookies: Calories in an average large cookie or 2 small cookies.

GRAND TOTAL: 1007 Calories (Approximate)

If you add all this up that comes to about 1007 Calories for breakfast with some pretty  unhealthy choices.  If a teenager is supposed to eat between 1,500-2,000 calories/day this proves to be well over half the calories for the day with at least 2 meals left for the day along with any in between snacks.    The fat  and sugar content is exceedingly high as well.

Sodexo table whose table had much healthier alternatives.  In all fairness we need to list Sodexo Choices:

90 calories in 8 oz. of skim milk
60 calories in apple juice
160 calories in a Rice Crispy Treat
120 calories in Healthy Snack Cookies

430  Calories (Approximate)

On Monday, 1/13/20,  the Newspaper Staff and I took a quick informal survey of JSEC students what would they prefer for breakfast and why and here’s just some of their responses:

“You should eat breakfast in the morning unless you want to feel like crap” -Anonymous
“I prefer the healthy breakfast, but I know people in this school, will prefer the hot chocolate…Hot Chocolate is only to warm you up, it doesn’t wake you up” -Justin Hernandez
“It’s a good idea for people who are late and it’s easy to grab and go (very convenient)” -Patricia
“It’s very tough to eat breakfast when the RIPTA buses are constantly late often getting us here after breakfast is served.  This Grab-N-Go is a lifesaver, it allows us to eat something, even if quickly, so at least we have something in our stomachs to start the day” – Dominique Young                 “I prefer  healthy breakfast because when I eat brownies it makes me hyper and I don’t concentrate.”-Angeliz Arroyo. Then they asked me my opinion on this and I replied with “many students prefer to have hot chocolate because it taste better like myself for example was in line to get hot chocolate it does taste good but does it make u feel satisfied or well?”

We are currently researching Ms. Gormley’s Class who has initiated this program within JSEC.  She and her class lit the healthier choices flame along addressing positive changes at JSEC.   Stay tuned for an addition to this article and/or another article directly related to this.  In sum we are all excited about the changes occurring at JSEC, the offering of healthier alternatives, and most proficient and efficient ways to enjoy and partake in meals while at school.   We are seeing this is slowly but surely becoming a school-wide effort, 100% supported by school administration and teachers, to improve healthy choices here at JSEC.