High school students taste test school food options

Shawntel Shirkey, South, and Cameron Carruth, West, talk about what they like as they taste test new food options.

Members of the Superintendent Student Advisory Council (SuperSAC) had the opportunity to sample different foods that may be on the menu next school year.  The high school students tasted main menu items of General Tso Chicken, Green Chili Chicken, barbeque turkey and chicken curry. They tried a couple of sandwiches and wraps that could be an alternate menu item, salads and different kinds of apples. They also sampled different types of pepperoni and cheese pizza, which were not a meal option this year because of the new meal guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some pizza companies have changed their products and provided documentation to meet the new requirements, including making them with whole-grain crusts.

“I liked the General Tso Chicken. It was spicy, but it also had a sweet taste. It was confusing my taste buds in a good way,” said Shawntel Shirkey, student at South. 

“I liked the General’s Chicken, but I liked the sandwiches too. The sandwiches are better than the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we have now, but I like those too,” said Cameron Carruth, student at West. 

“I don’t like the chicken curry. It doesn’t even taste like chicken,” said Keison Walker, student at Northeast Magnet.

Jordan Kelly, West, takes notes as he samples different foods.

After they tasted the food, they gave their feedback on the items and shared if they would eat them if they were an option on the menu. The students liked the General Tso Chicken the best and the chicken curry the least. The students said they would prefer the barbeque turkey be served on a bun and the green chili chicken be served with rice. They liked the idea of having sandwiches as a meal option and shared what they would like to have as extras to customize their sandwiches, including lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and avocado.  They liked having a garden salad as a vegetable serving. The students did a blind taste-test of the pizza samples, but said they preferred one brand over the others for both the cheese and pepperoni.

“We take their opinions to heart,” said Vicki Hoffman, Director of Nutrition Services. “We are here to serve them and we don’t want to give them foods that they don’t want to eat.

“I can definitely see the General Tso Chicken being on the menu,” she added.

After providing their feedback, the students toured the district’s Food Production Center and learned about what it takes to provide more than 32,000 lunches and nearly 11,000 breakfasts to schools each day.

SuperSAC is made up of representatives from each high school and eSchool. The group meets monthly with Superintendent John Allison and other district leaders to discuss topics that impact their education. 

Last Updated: 1/14/13
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