Food sampling in The Terrace encourages student input

A group of students eat lunch in the South Study Cafe

A group of students eat lunch in the South Study Cafe

Amissa Page, News Editor

The Nutrition Services Dept. will allow students to sample potential meals for next year’s lunch and breakfast menus and provide feedback on foods.

“Students are our customers, so their opinions really matters to us,” Director of Nutrition Services Kimberly Minestra said. “We want our program to grow, and the only way is to keep students happy.”

The first tasting was Tuesday Nov. 29, and Minestra plans to have quarterly meetings during lunch periods or after school. Each meeting will focus on breakfast or lunch foods, and the next meeting is planned for sometime in February.

This is the first year of food sampling, so it is a work in progress. Minestra’s main goal is to market the sampling session to students through posters and announcements. She is also considering making it a club to draw more people in.

“We’ve been having an issue with getting students to come,” Minestra said. “We want to get the student’s feedback, but we can’t because they don’t want to come.”

Students go to the terrace during their lunch periods, get a free lunch, discuss with other students and give their opinions to Minestra.

“We also want feedback on what’s currently on the menu so we know what’s working, what we should remove and what students want on the menu,” Minestra said.

According to the Illinois Board of Education, low-income students, most of which have free or reduced lunch, make up almost 40 percent of our student body. Furthermore, according to the School Nutrition Association, 5 billion lunches and 2.3 billion breakfasts are served in schools annually in America. The food served at school has a major impact on student’s lives and school performance, so a student-centered menu is important.

“I’m an aspiring chef, so I would love to taste and give feedback on the food,” junior Hannah Seiler said.

New this year is an app called Meal Viewer, where students can select ETHS, look at menus and rate the foods served. It’s available in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Complaints about the lunchroom food are common, and the Nutrition Services Dept. acknowledges that. That’s why they are giving students the chance to give meaningful feedback that will help improve meals for the future.