Before new food items hit the menus in fall 2019, Mansfield ISD hosted a free food tasting party to get honest opinions from its most valued customers—students.
The Summer Tasting Party was held at Timberview High School on June 13. Staff members from MISD’s Student Nutrition Services said it is a good way to see what works and what may need to be improved.
“We wanted to get the real live feedback from students concerning the flavor profiles,” said culinary trainer Isabella Cannon. “They’re the ones who make or break our program. If they’re not going to eat it, then what’s the point?”
Several of the foods on MISD’s menus are scratch-made or locally grown. The new items up for vote were Cajun chicken alfredo, Italian squash blend, ham and Swiss cheese panini on Italian bread, and turkey bacon panini on a ciabatta bun.
“I ate some of the alfredo. That was good,” said Cidney Shanks, incoming senior at Legacy High School. “The ham sandwich was good, but I liked the other sandwich the best. That was my favorite one.”
After the students ate the food, they were given a questionnaire to rate the taste and determine whether they would select it for lunch. Depending on the feedback, the items may be added to the high school menus for next year.
Cannon said enjoying a school meal is important because it contributes to student success.
“Our goal is to make more students happy, to have their bellies full, for them to perform better in school because they are satiated and aren’t worrying about where their next meal’s going to come from,” she said.
By providing nutritious and delicious food, the Student Nutrition Services helps students develop life-long skills to make healthy food choices. The department served more than 5.3 million meals during the 2018-19 school year and hopes to surpass that in the upcoming year.