Let us count our own calories

Chronicle Staff

At the beginning of the school year, the decision was made to help guide students towards a healthier lifestyle. A nutritionist was consulted, and candy and soda were purged from the cafeteria shelves. Nothing else was done.

Guiding students toward a healthier lifestyle should not stop at banning certain items; instead, our school should take a page out of the governor’s book and require that our cafeterias at both the Upper School and the Middle School report calorie counts and other nutritional information on the food they serve. An informational pamphlet, a big bulletin board or labels on the food containers would work. Harvard-Westlake is big on the idea of challenging students both in and out of the classrooms. We are trusted to manage our free periods, our extracurricular activities and, presumably, our food intake.

First Lady Michelle Obama introduced her Let’s Move initiative last month to tackle childhood obesity. The program will focus on making nutrition labels easier to read and putting calorie counts on the front of labels to encourage healthy choices. The efforts will aim to educate the public about healthy body mass indexes and the benefits of exercise.

Instead of making choices on our behalf, by removing items from the cafeteria, the school should provide us with the tools to make informed decisions. Rather than try to directly control our diets, the school should follow Michelle Obama’s lead and endeavor to educate us about the food we are consuming.

It will be much harder for a student, teacher or faculty member to pick up a slice of New York cheesecake if he or she knows that it has 50 percent of a person’s daily value of saturated fat.

Knowing the facts about our food choices is something we will be able to carry with us for the rest of our lives, when we step into a world full of — gasp!—candy and soda.