Menu planning is never easy, especially when it involves the sometimes fickle and always evolving palates of children.  Complicating the task for the Orange County Public Schools are Federally-established nutritional standard and budgets.

“School meals need to meet three requirements,” said Lora Gilbert, Senior Director of Food & Nutritional Services for OCPS. “Nutrition, taste and affordability.”

The 2017 OCPS Traveling Food Show was all about taste. Dream Lake Elementary was one of 22 elementary, middle and high schools chosen to help choose menu items for the next school year.

The 54 third and fourth graders each sampled 14 different items including yogurt parfaits, fruit juices, slushies and panini sandwiches.  The then rated each item on a five-point scale using I-pads.

In order to make the cut an item had to receive an 80% favorable rating.  80% of the students had to rate the item as either “I love it” or “I like it.”

The items were provided from pre-screened vendors.

OCPS has been holding Food Shows for seven years.  County-wide more than 200 menu items from 50 vendors were sampled this week.

If you are wondering if any of the menu items achieved the coveted 80% approval rating you are not alone.  But we will all have to wait until next week when OCPS is expected to release the results of the 2017 Traveling Food Show.

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