Hockaday students and faculty are sliding their trays down the lunch line more slowly, spending more time at the salad bar and making more nutritious meal choices due to recent changes in the cafeteria. Torie Reynolds, Hockaday’s food services director, and her staff started this year off with a goal of providing more nutritious and delicious options for students.
“We want y’all to be happy and healthy!” said Reynolds.
Reynolds knows what girls need out of a lunch. One way she and her staff are reaching their nutritional goals is by making more of the food served in-house. Now, about 95 percent of lunch is made from scratch.
While not all of the entrees are made from scratch, the salad dressings and desserts are prepared in the kitchen. Reynolds believes that this will help the kitchen staff monitor amounts of unhealthy ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup found in many pre-packaged foods.
Upper School math teacher Andrew Brown, a fan of the soup bar, said that the cafeteria staff has done a good job making lunch nutritious while maintaining other tasty options such as red velvet cake and bread sticks. Having taught last year at W.T. White High School, Brown plainly states that Hockaday food “is about 1,000 times better” than that of his former school.
Senior Mackenzie enjoys the sandwiches and soups at the end of the lunch line as well. “I love the new options with the soup bar,” said Mackenzie. Although she hasn’t seen significant changes in the lunches between this year and last year, Hall appreciates the fresh options at the sandwich bar and especially likes the bread bowls for the soups.
Sixth grader Grace also utilizes the new options in the cafeteria, especially the daily soup and sandwich bar. For Grace, not only has the cafeteria added more options, it has also become more user-friendly. “I like how the soup bar tells you what soup it is,” said Grace, referring to the labels above each soup.
While the new changes mean more options, the cafeteria can sometimes be hard to navigate with so many decisions to make. Although the lunch period has been extended, many students have a short amount of time to eat lunch; making the most nutritious choices while in the lunch line sometimes comes second to getting to class on time.
To compensate, Reynolds and her team work to extend the changes beyond the cafeteria into the lunch menu posted on FirstClass. In addition to a more visually appealing layout, the menu includes colored daisies next to entrees, salads and soups. These indicate which foods to indulge in, eat small portions of or eat in moderation.
The majority of language arts teacher Teresa Wilson’s fourth grade class finds the new menu helpful, including Kaylin, who believes the guiding daisies on the menu are helpful for her peers who used to eat nutritionally unbalanced meals at lunch. However, others, like fourth graders Isabel and Caylee, find the daisies challenging to locate and their terminology confusing.
Constructive criticisms like these are exactly what Reynolds wants to hear. To continue providing students with options they like, she urges students to use the Let’s Eat menu suggestions folder on FirstClass email.
Reynolds uses suggestions to better cater to the needs of the Hockaday community, with one condition: “Keep in mind that we’re feeding 1,300 people—no sushi!”