Courtesy Orange County Public Schools Students sample fruit smoothies at the Orange County Public Schools' annual food show.Fresh produce was a highlight of Florida’s Orange County Public Schools' Annual Student Food Show.
This year’s show, at the Orlando Science Center, was dubbed “kNOw Food, kNOw Fun and featured about 400 students, according to a school district news release.
“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,” Lora Gilbert, senior director of the district’s food and nutrition services, said in the release. “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.”
Fruit and vegetables smoothies were among the most popular produce fare at the show. Flavors tested included peach mango and raspberry watermelon.
More than 40 vendors serving 144 food items were at the show. Offerings included vegetarian dishes. Students rated dishes on a mini computer, part of a digital project funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Surveys were pre-loaded onto iPads using an app, and clipped to each table. Students used the app to rate each item they tasted. One hundred and twenty-one of the 144 items received a passing score.
“Vendors provide the latest new products, our registered dietitians screen the items for nutrition and the students tell us what they will eat,” Gilbert said. “Customer approval is working; we have doubled participation in the program in the last 10 years.”