A group of District 65 students took part in the first annual taste test organized by Food Services Coordinator, Christine Frole in cooperation with Mary Larson, Director of Health Services, and the District Wellness Council. Food Vendor representatives from the District 65’s food cooperative, which is made up of 60 other school districts in Illinois, also attended and contributed.

The fourth to seventh grade participating students volunteered to taste and rate foods to help make decisions about next school year’s menu. They arrived hungry after a half-day of school and tested a variety of foods, refreshing their palate with small sips of water between tastings. The children also answered questions about what they like or dislike on today’s school lunch menus, whether they could identify healthy eating, and what items on the school breakfast and lunch menus fit their idea of healthy foods. Not all of the participants are frequent visitors to the district’s lunch line, but most of them knew that there are fresh fruits and vegetables available at school, and of course, knew about the all-time favorite “brunch for lunch” meal.

Testers tasted and rated foods that included a tangerine chicken and tomato-herb brown rice, strawberry yogurt, chicken noodle soup, hummus with pita bread, Jamaican jerk chicken, whole grain reduced-fat chocolate chip cookie, a veggie burger, baked sweet potato fries, and a grilled chicken wrap. Food was rated based on appearance, mouth feel, and taste. Superintendent Hardy Murphy joined the students, but not even he was told whether his favorite food item will make next year’s menu.