ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Orange County Public Schools hosted its Annual Student Food Show at an exciting and educational location this year…the Orlando Science Center (OSC). Approximately 400 students put their taste buds to work among the dinosaurs, planets, and laboratories at the OSC.
“This is probably the single most important event we do each year. The healthiest menu in the world is not healthful unless the kids will eat it,” said Lora Gilbert, senior director of OCPS Food and Nutrition Services. School menus and nutrition are regulated by USDA to provide servings of fruits, vegetables, high quality proteins and whole grains for kids. “When the food is low in sugar, fat, and salt, we have to get down to the right taste and texture choices from our customer,” explained Gilbert.
There were more than 40 vendors serving 144 food items, including gluten-free and vegetarian options for students to taste. Students then gave their opinion with a “bite of technology” on a mini computer as part of a digital project funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture. Surveys were pre-loaded on to iPads using the NurtiSlice® app, and clipped to each table. Students used the app to rate each item they tasted, and gave 121 of the 144 items a passing score. The scores were disaggregated to elementary, middle, and high school students and will be used as placement indicators on the menu.
“Vendors provide the latest new products, our Registered Dietitians screen the items for nutrition and the students tell us what they will eat. Customer approval is working; we have doubled participation in the program in the last 10 years,” said Gilbert. Standout items from last year’s show like the jalapeno ranch sauce and the breakfast chicken patty earned a spot on the 2013-2014 menus, and have students rushing to the cafeteria on the days they are served.
OCPS Food and Nutrition Services serve more than 29 million meals and snacks each year. That equals approximately 175,000 breakfast and lunch meals daily. The department brings in more than $69 million in federal money to the school district and provides award-winning programs.
OCPS EEO Non-Discrimination Statement
The School Board of Orange County, Florida, does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs and activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other reason prohibited by law. The following individuals at the Ronald Blocker Educational Leadership Center, 445 W. Amelia Street, Orlando, Florida 32801, attend to compliance matters: ADA Coordinator & Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Supervisor: Carianne Reggio; Section 504 Coordinator: Latonia Green; Title IX Coordinator: Matthew Fitzpatrick. (407.317.3200)