BHS uses students as critics for new lunch item possibilities

Published 6:10 pm Friday, April 29, 2016

Following a 2010 mandate that required multi-grains to replace white bread and lower sodium levels in school lunches, the Decatur County School Board has been working to meet the requirements while also providing food the students enjoy. 

Debbie Purcell, the school nutrition director, said that with the multi-grain mandate, the product that has suffered the most has been pizza.

“We were having a problem with the pizza we were using,” Purcell said. “It had been good for a while then they made a change to the crust. It was very gritty and just didn’t have a very good flavor anymore.”

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To combat this Purcell decided to bring in the experts and let the students, or customers as she calls them, taste test alternative pizza options. In December, a group of students was given samples of a new pepperoni pizza, a Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple, a buffalo chicken flatbread and a six-inch personal supreme pizza to try.

“The kids loved everything because it was so different,” Purcell said. “We brought them in a put them on our menus. We eliminated the ham and pineapple because once it got out there on the regular line there weren’t that many students that picked it up. The supreme pizza has gone really well.”

Following the success of the first taste test Purcell once again asked the students to test food options. The second test, whcih occured last week, included different chicken options and new Asian food items for next year.

Purcell said that in recent years they have also been working to use more local produce in the school lunches to support the local community.

“We are trying to integrate farm to school. That’s very important to our program,” Purcell said. “This year we’ve had satsumas from the Powell farm.”

At Bainbridge High School, the lunch staff also works to provide creative options to the students. They recently introduce Philly cheese steaks with the option for kids to add their own onions and peppers, a make-your-own pasta bar with choices of two different pastas and sauces and a condiment bar on burger day where kids can add their own toppings.

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