Page 2 of 3   <       >

At High School, Pit Stops Add 21,000 Calories in Two Hours

One local school struggles to provide healthier snack options for its students, while still supplying tasty choices.

Waller's friends, also flouting the polo shirt and khakis dress code, pool their change to buy Snapple fruit punch (170 calories, no fat) and Fritos (160 calories, 10 grams of fat).

"Everyone has snacks," Waller said. "Lunch is more of a time for fellowship, conversation."

In other words: At this early hour, just 1 1/2 hours into their school day, Waller and her friends are still full from breakfast -- or the McDonald's they bought this morning.

The bell for the second lunch period beeps like a high-pitched fax machine.

A skinny girl in skinny jeans points at the Nesquik milkshakes and yells, "How much is this?" A drink costs $1.25. She walks to the Snapple machine and instead picks out a 75-cent apple juice (170 calories, no fat).

At 11:50 a.m., a crowd forms at the opposite end of the cafeteria for the lunch line and at the snack bar, which sells items identical to those in the vending machine.

Three boys, with hair slicked back and white polo shirts hanging to around their knees, mob the snack machine. From the six rows of snacks, they each hit D5. Three bags of Welch's Fruit Snacks (195 calories, no fat) curl forward and fall into the bin.

The crowd for the third lunch period bursts in with a thunderous chatter and music blasting from their cellphones. Lines snake up to the machines.

"D2! D2! I didn't want this!" shouts a girl with curly hair as she pounds on the glass.

Two students, heads tilted up, shake down the last crumbs of their 50-cent Hot Fries (150 calories, 7 grams of fat), while waiting for Snapple drinks.

Assistant Principal Bernard Lucas grabs a microphone and starts to sing: "I'm so glad, I go to Bladensburg High . . ."

The Snapple machine is working overtime and kiwi-strawberry drinks (220 calories, no fat) are running low.


<       2        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company