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Students from across the district attended "The School Lunch Experience," an annual event that allows them to shape the school lunch menu for more than 133,000 students.
Over 200 students tested 17 dishes, rating them based on appearance, taste and smell. They registered votes on tablets throughout the two day event.
The winner? The Kickin' Chicken sandwich. Other top contenders included barbacoa street tacos and bacon burger mac and cheese. All three of the items will be featured on the school lunch menu over the next calendar year.
"Everything has been vetted to make sure it's meeting standards as far as the whole grain, sodium, fat. That way we can put it on our menus," said Heather D'Ambrosi, Team Leader-Nutrition Specialist.
Students loved the idea of choosing new menu items and learning about new ingredients.
"I think it's pretty amazing what's going on in this program," said 8th grader Gabrielle Foster. "It gives us the opportunity to see what they have and choose things students will actually eat instead of having a small variety of things."
This is the 11th year Hillsborough Schools' Student Nutrition Services Department is hosting the taste test. Other dishes included ropa vieja, chicken empanadas, breakfast frittata bites, and Mexican street corn.
The purpose of the tasting is to help Student Nutrition Services provide healthy menus that are based on student preferences to get students excited about school lunch. Each student left with a goodie bag for participating and a full belly.