FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Some students in the Fort Worth Independent School District spent part of the morning serving as taste testers for possible new cafeteria food items.
One student from every class at De Zavala Elementary was chosen to sample new food creations.
De Zavala principal Hector Martinez explained, “The idea is to give students a healthier alternative to what they’re accustomed to. A lot of times we’re putting vegetables at the back of the cafeteria line, where here we want to show them that there are healthier choices that are tasty.”
The tested foods will potentially be a part of the new Food for Thought school lunch menu, but Principal Martinez believes the healthier items could have a bigger impact. “We’re hoping, in the long run, that this pilot project will expand to some other schools here in Fort Worth as well as the state.”
Two of the items on the taste test list were sweet potatoes and zucchini. Chef Lisa Wright said she was surprised by some of the student feedback. “Some of them are saying they like the savory one better, some like the sweet better.”
After hearing from the children school menu items and recipes will be adjusted accordingly. It’s a move Chef Wright feels should also be happening at home. “The kids really need to get a better palate and start learning about different foods, because there’s so much out there right now that they can try.”
Keeping in mind that life’s successes and failures are about choices, the school district is hoping to increase nutrition education and ultimately help children make healthier choices. They certainly succeeded with student Julio Lopez, who said, “Today we tried some delicious food. My favorite, of all the delicious food we tried, was the savory sweet potato.”
De Zavala Elementary was the only school chosen to work with Food for Thought and sample the possible new lunch choices.
Fort Worth ISD administrators say once the healthy options are made readily available they will then also look at their impact on academics, discipline and student emotional wellbeing.
The new Fort Worth ISD school menu will be introduced in January of 2013.