Healthy food: the real performance enhancer


Ryan Allen

An unhealthy snack option of a cupcake and a Coke placed next to the healthy alternative of an apple and a water. Decisions between these two snacks are hard to make, because students value taste over nutrition.

Ryan Allen, Staff Writer

A student sits in the back of his math class, yearning to fill his stomach with the best snack out of the vending machine. He raises his hand and asks, “May I go to the restroom?” The teacher nods, and the student exits the class heading straight toward his destination. Inside the metal food holder, the student picks between the only two options he finds appetizing: Rice Krispies treats and almonds. He makes the obvious pick — Rice Krispies treats.

The majority of Starr’s Mill’s students choose unhealthy snacks over the healthier options the school provides. Teenagers are being challenged every day in school with hard work, tasks, and stressful obstacles that drain their energy.

Students are choosing these snacks for many reasons. Unhealthy food tastes better, is quick to eat, and is cheaply mass produced. If a surveyor sits a teenager down with two options, junk food or healthy food, the surveyor knows the answer.

There are students at the Mill who agree with the statements above. Junior Adam Secour’s favorite snack after a long day is buttered popcorn. “It’s delicious, something to grab, and something quick and easy to make,” Secour said. According to MyFitnessPal, however, Orville Redenbacher’s Butter Bag is 313 calories and packed with 30 grams of fat and 40 grams of carbs. It also contains no vitamins or protein.

Doritos are always in the pantry and are easily accessible. I always have them.

— Junior Grant Parry

There is a much healthier alternative to these microwaveable bags of popcorn, such as Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop! This alternative provides the same wholesome taste with a ridiculous nutrition change. Fatsecret states that Boom Chicka Pop! has only 140 calories, seven grams of fat, and 19 grams of carbs. Its buttered popcorn also has only 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 14 grams of carbs. It is a much better solution to microwaveable popcorn, as it also contains vitamins and proteins.

Junior Grant Parry states that Doritos are his favorite school snack to munch on throughout the day. “Doritos are always in the pantry and are easily accessible. I always have them,” Parry said. MyFitnessPal states that a one ounce bag of Doritos contains 140 calories, eight grams of fat, 210 milligrams of sodium, and 16 grams of carbs. These packages of Doritos additionally contain two grams of protein and two percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

There is a healthy alternative to Doritos that tastes just alike but without the GMO’s and preservatives. This magical snack is Beanfield’s Bean and Rice Nacho chips. The nutrition label from Nutritionix shows that this option has the same amount of calories but only has five grams of fat, 190 milligrams of sodium, four grams of dietary fibers, and four grams of protein. The sodium comes from the flavoring to provide that nacho taste that everyone loves. It’s an all -natural product, gluten free, non GMO, vegan, and corn free.

Junior Andrew Fry is an athlete who needs to fuel his body. He enjoys snacking on beef jerky before participating in sports and other after school activities because  “it is full of protein, gives energy, and is very tasty.” MyFitnessPal states that one package of  Jack Link’s Beef Jerky has 70 calories, one gram of fat, 430 milligrams of sodium, and 13 grams of protein. The big thing about beef jerky that people think of is sodium and protein.

A perfectly healthy alternative for Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is Chops Original Beef Jerky, which is an all-natural product with no artificial ingredients. The company Chops Snacks provides a nutrition label stating that one package has 80 calories, one gram of fat, 350 milligrams of sodium, and nine grams of protein. Despite the slight nutritional changes, Chops Beef Jerky is an ideal alternative because it uses all natural ingredients that the body can more easily process.

Eating processed foods makes it harder for the body to convert them into energy. That’s why healthy alternatives are important. Clean energy fuels the body and helps it thrive to reach its full potential. Yes, junk food is quick and easy, but burning it off isn’t. There are always healthy options available, just make the right choice.