“Try it. You’ll like it.” Many parents understand it can be difficult to persuade a child to try a new food item, especially if it is labeled “healthy.”
Director of Nutrition Services Lori Shofroth Cords says in March, National Nutrition Month, her team is trying to add a few items to the menu and letting students do the taste testing.
Middle school students sampled new breakfast burritos and bean and cheese burritos, while high school students tried barbecue chicken pizza and other new recipes this month. “Taste tests are a great way to introduce a new menu item and get students excited about eating in the cafeteria,” says Shofroth Cords. “The taste testing gives us valuable feedback and it’s an opportunity for students to discover they might like something new.”
In addition, Land O Lakes held a recipe tasting for food service workers. The new dishes included chicken pot pie, white chicken chili, creamed corn with jalapenos, ultimate alfredo sauce, cheesy buffalo sauce and queso with green chiles.
The TSC serves about 2,500 breakfasts to students K-12 every day and about 8,000 lunches a day. Chicken items are the most popular, but Asian dishes are especially popular at the high schools.
Shofroth Cords says her department strives to provide healthy, affordable and appealing meals to students every day. They must follow USDA guidelines and requirements for each grade level when they create a menu: “We must meet the calories, sodium, sat fat etc. We must offer five components daily (grain, protein, veggie, fruit and milk). Students must take three of the five and one out of the five must be a fruit or veggie. When we look at each of the components there has to be so many grains per day and per week. The grains must be whole grain rich. The same goes for meat/meat alternatives, there has to be so many in the day and week. Vegetables have sub groups and all sub groups must be offered during the week. The sub groups are: leafy greens (broccoli, romaine lettuce), Red/orange - tomato, carrot, sweet potato, starchy - corn, potato, peas. legume - refried beans, baked beans, hummus, and other - celery, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce. Fruits must be in light syrup and milk must have two fat contents (skim and 1%).”