School lunch tasting event in Henrietta

Posted at: 01/08/2013 7:36 AM
Updated at: 01/08/2013 6:20 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren

Have you ever wondered how those school lunches taste? Local school leaders had the chance to taste some of those meals.

The event was a way to help districts provide tasty, nutritional items to go along with new federal rules.

School lunch officials tasted everything from pizza, to pasta, to sandwiches, all looking for the perfect balance of not only taste, but nutrition.

About 98 schools were represented at the seminar sponsored by the New York School Nutrition Association. School lunch directors and their staff had a chance to taste foods that they could bring to their schools for next year. Processors set up booths and talked about the nutritional value of the food they have to offer.

In July of 2012, new federal guidelines were established for school lunches. The biggest change in the industry in the last 15 years. So it's the job of these school lunch directors to find foods that meet those guidelines.

Carol Beebe, New York School Nutrition Association, said, “There are requirements for whole grain, requirements for sodium, requirements for milk. It has to be 1% or skim and if it's flavored, it has to be skim. There's a requirement for the first time that a student has to take a fruit or a vegetable with lunch.”

Karen Bronson-Clark, BOCES Food Service Director, said, “We're always looking at what's new, innovative out there that the kids will enjoy and is kid friendly, healthy, nutritious and it also meets regulations."

The regional nutrition seminar held in Henrietta is specifically for the western New York area, but the association will hold four other seminars across New York State with the same goal.