Candy cravings: addressing candy in the cafeteria

Mikail Akbar

Every time I entered the cafeteria last year, I saw a wide variety of options. Grilled chicken and hamburgers to my left, an assortment of drinks to my right. I took two steps forward and found fried foods, entree meals, and pasta, and I debated what should fill my stomach for the noon meal. However, as I stood in line to pay for my food, my eyes stared directly at the candy area. Nobody could resist the creamy Hershey’s chocolate bar or the colorful pack of Skittles waiting to be devoured. Whenever I would walk out and find a place to eat, candy always seemed to be in my hand along with my meal.
“Mikail! Why do I always see candy on your lunch bill,” my parents used to ask me when they saw all the candy I ate.
Although I promised my parents to eat more healthy foods, this conversation still occurred every month when my parents got my lunch bill. This is a conversation that also happens in many households across the school because the abundance of candy in the cafeteria has been an issue for a lot of parents since kids can easily get addicted to sugar. According to addictioncenter.com, candy brings a dopamine rush that people enjoy. “Sugar releases endorphins in the body and combines with other chemicals in the body, resulting in a surge of energy. Once someone mentally connects sugar with help providing energy, they may become dependent on it, usually inadvertently,” says Kristyna Murray, the author of an addictioncenter.com article.
Not only do children nibble on candy during lunch, but during frees, kids stop by the cafeteria to grab a snack, and usually, candy is that “snack”.
“People may begin to crave sugar to balance irritability, emotional lows, and other conditions. Eventually, there is little control over avoiding sugary foods, and a sugar addiction has developed,” Murray continues. Some studies suggest the candy is as addictive as cocaine.
Having such a high intake of sugar every day can lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems, cavities, and an increased risk in heart disease. Nobody needs candy; instead, they crave it when they see it in front of the register, a psychological dilemma that students used to face every day. The boxes that hold the candy empties after almost every day, which means that students are evidently addicted.
However, last year, there were initiatives in place created by Dr. Kelly to prevent the consumption of candy from students. Dr. Kelly was “was not impressed with the amount of candy consumed by MD students,” said Brenda Cohn, the director of FLIK at the school. As a result, candy was replaced every Tuesday and Thursday with a variety of healthy nutrition bars last year. This school year, Dr. Kelly decided to remove the candy for good. Now, there are healthy Clif Bars and Kind Bars available to students every day. This initiative has worked, as “healthy products have increased overall,” according to Ms. Cohn.
I believe that the idea was a great one, as the intake of sugar from students will decrease heavily, and even better, I won’t have to worry about that conversation with my parents.