Georgetown ISD students taste test for future cafeteria menu

Did you like cafeteria food when you were in school? This week Georgetown ISD invited students to sample some of the items the district is considering serving.

Inside the Benold Middle School students from around the district gathered

The district invited students, parents and staff to weigh in on more than 200 items. Healthy breakfast options, snacks and even hot entrees filled the tables.

"It's wonderful to be a part of a big choice," said Madeline Kemper, a 5th grader. She's representing Village Elementary School as a member of the student council. She was one of dozens who snacked Wednesday morning.

"Good nutrition doesn't occur unless they eat it so we want to make sure they eat it," said Karen Kovash, the director of nutrition services for the district. GISD feeds around 9,000 students every school day. Keeping menus healthy and tasty while meeting standards is a priority for the district and isn't always easy.

"The federal government has reduced sodium levels in our foods and that has affected our snack items," said Kovash.

In order to get honest feedback Kovash created a survey system. Comment sheets are color coordinated to the food items. People tasting can either grade the food great, okay or no way.

"We saw some no ways. None of us like the breakfast burrito," said Janae Pierce who brought students from another campus.

Vendors value the feedback too. "We have actually had manufacturers go back and change products to change the flavor profile," said Becky Balzen with Advantage Way Point.

"We'll see which ones the kids liked and look at putting some of those on our menu," said Kovash.

It's no surprise according to Kovash that when GISD students are sampled the top three favorites are chicken nuggets, pizza, and hamburgers.

The results from the taste test will likely be in cafeterias in the fall of 2015.