The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

 
 

Ironwood students taste-test possible menu additions

 

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

ELEMENTARY STUDENTS line up for free samples of healthy foods during a taste testing event at Luther L. Wright School in Ironwood Thursday as part of "Every Kid Healthy Week."

IRONWOOD - Students at Luther L. Wright School in Ironwood dined on free samples of healthy food options during lunch Thursday.

The event was part of "Every Kid Healthy Week" at the school, and allowed the kids to taste-test different foods that could possibly be placed on the menu in the future.

According to Mary Hampston, food service director, it was "amazing" how many kids were willing to try new things. The healthier options are part of the national movement to fight obesity in youth.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released guidelines on what foods can be served in school districts, including lower sodium, low-fat and whole grain options.

For more than two years, students have adapted to the healthier options on the school's lunch menu, according to Hampston.

"I am very impressed with how well these kids have adjusted to the healthier options we serve," Hampston said.

During Thursday's event, kids were able to try other healthy foods, including whole-grain pizza, black bean salsa, fruit and yogurt parfaits, fruit juices with full servings of vegetables mixed in, and WowButter, a peanut butter alternative which is peanut- and gluten-free.

"The pizza is always huge," Hampston said. "Kids love pizza."

The items were brought by Ritchie's Food Distributors, Gordon Foods and Acosta Foods. Representatives handed out samples to students, along with members of the Ironwood Area Schools Board of Education and student volunteers.

"I had a group of eighth grade girls help put this together and serve the food," Hampston said. "They have done a great job. And to have members of the school board here is really cool. They have so many other things to worry about, but to see them involved in healthy choices for kids is just awesome."

After tasting the samples, students were provided surveys to rate the items they tried. If certain items went over well, they could be on the menu in the future.

"We have been getting really good feedback," Hampston said.

Taste-testing culminated a week's worth of events, including a science fair with healthy snacks and treats, and a "Jump Rope for Health" event for some elementary students.

"This was really successful," Hampston said.