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Wheeling Park High Students Taste Test New Lunch Items

Photo Provided Wheeling Park High School student council member Bailey Meredith samples potential school lunch menu items.

Whole grain waffles, potato wedges and frozen fruit cups are among new items coming soon to school lunch menus in Ohio County.

Student council members at Wheeling Park High School recently got a chance to taste test and give their approval to new food items that soon will be served at schools throughout Ohio County.

“We try to do it once a year,” said Renee Griffin, child nutrition director for Ohio County Schools. “We get some good feedback on the items from the kids, and ideas for school lunch menus.

“Giving them the chance to taste test gives them a voice in the process, and I think they really enjoy that.”

The students sampled potato wedges, which they found superior to the normal plain french fries served in the cafeteria, according to Griffin. Also getting a thumbs up were two whole-grain products that will soon be on school lunch menus.

Whole grain pretzel rods will be served with different dips, such as honey mustard or cheese sauces, Griffin said.

“Then there is a whole grain dutch waffle that could really be a nice version for chicken and waffles, or even something by itself for breakfast,” she said. “The whole grain foods remind you of something kids might get at a carnival, and they really enjoyed it. We’re looking forward to trying some of these things.”

Frozen whole fruits in different flavors also will be available in “fruit cups” that are equal to a half-cup serving of fruit.

And any type of pizza or chicken product is usually popular with students, according to Griffith.

“All over the county, kids really do like breakfast for lunch,” she said. “But we are also aware that we have a lot of kids who pay attention to their health. We offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and salad entrees. There are kids choosing these items everyday, also.”

Griffin said she has visited elementary schools where students asked that hummus be added to the menu, as well as more vegetarian options.

“They are definitely learning more about nutrition and how it affects their health,” she said. “We want them to have foods that help them learn and help them grow.”

The goal is to make available to students food that is both healthy for them and is also what they like, according to Griffith.

“It’s something we’ve got to balance when we have to follow regulations, and we want to make sure the kids are really enjoying the food,” she said.

Some of the new products could be available to students as soon as this summer during summer school sessions, Griffin said. They will definitely be on menus for the start of the next school year in August, she said.

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