Amos Elementary fourth-grader Parker knows what he likes when it comes to food.
“The French fries were too spicy,” Parker said. “The other two were too bland. They tasted just like potatoes.”
Classmate Jose is also a food critic of sorts. He was rather vocal when it comes to nacho cheese.
“The one that’s blue is too chunky,” he said. “The green one was way better.”
What are the students talking about?
Potential lunch options for the Arlington ISD in the future.
The fourth graders from Amos are just one of the schools that recently visited the food and nutrition services building to give their opinions on the kind of food that’s on the menu for school lunches.
Chicken patties to broccoli
The school field trip was the idea of food and nutrition services director David Lewis, who heard some students’ opinions when he was visiting a campus.
With the district in the process of bidding out food for the upcoming school year, Lewis wanted to give students a chance to play a role in the process. That’s why schools like Amos made the trip. Amos students took taste tests on everything from chicken patties to nacho cheese. Plus, they got to tour the building and get a lesson on nutrition. They even ate broccoli!
While adults may hold back on their opinions, that’s not the case with students. There was a wall for them to say what they like, what they don’t like and what they’d like to see.
It’s all valuable input for Lewis.
“They’re helping us with our bid,” Lewis said. “We get samples from various manufacturers and then we have to compare them to decide what we want to serve. They’re making that decision for us. They give us lots of different ideas, things they like and things they have at school that have to go. We want to know what they’re eating at home, what they’re eating at restaurants.”
The students aren’t the only ones participating in the field trip, either. Teachers get to voice their opinions, too. They love the idea that students get to have a voice.
“Their feedback matters,” said Amos teacher Kara Reyna. “They have been so excited about this trip. This is a real-world opportunity to see how their opinion matters.”
If opinions matter, then Jose has a hot one he wanted to share. His favorite restaurant is Olive Garden and his favorite food is lasagna. While he enjoys eating out, he’s also a big fan of the lasagna students get at school. He hopes there are no changes to that menu item.
“It’s really good,” he said. “Even the teachers eat the lasagna.”