The Houston Independent School District Nutrition Services department observed National School Lunch Week with several taste-testing events in which students could vote for their favorite new lunch item.
The weeklong events began Oct. 4 at several HISD schools and concluded with a final vote at Blackshear Elementary School on Oct. 7.
HISD’s theme for NSLW was “Vote for a Winning Lunch,” in which students got to sample new menu items and then vote for their favorite on a special ballot.
At the end of the week after all votes were tallied, students in in middle and high school voted for crispy wings as their favorite new menu item. Elementary school students voted for the soy butter and jelly sandwich as the winning new item. The winning recipes will be put on the menu in early November.
“We decided to have an election theme this year,” said Nutrition Services Director Jennifer Boesch. “We wanted to give our students plenty of choices to choose from and included an educational component to this celebration.”
Students at Kashmere High School were eager to participate in the lunch elections. Amani Johnson got a sample at the snack bar, where she tasted a bit of everything. “My favorite items were the wings,” Amani said. “I love this idea because the school came together and the final vote will represent what Kashmere students want to eat during lunch.”
At Hartman Middle School, eighth-graders Mary Castillo and Yanelly Munoz were happy with the items presented to them for sampling. They appreciated Nutrition Services for creating new recipes that are flavorful and healthy for students. Most importantly, though, students got to express their opinion through voting.
“It’s interesting to see HISD trying new ideas to give us better options during lunch,” Mary said. “This is a great experience to participate in and to vote for what other students may want to eat.
At Blackshear Elementary School fourth-grader Ladarien Freeman approached Chef Chiquita Coleman, instantly recognizing what he was voting for. “Oh, yeah, that was good,” said Freeman pointing at the turkey ham mac and cheese. “I really like the flavor and looks of the mac and cheese.”
NSLW recognizes the federally funded National School Lunch Program that provides nutritionally balanced, healthy meals to students. The program has served the nation’s schoolchildren for more than 60 years by providing nutritionally sound meals that include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and are low in fat and sodium.