DCPS’ Food and Nutrition Services have put out a call for parent feedback on school meals, which will serve as input into an upcoming RFP for a new (or not) vendor.

CHM@L students heard the call and with a little help from parents, provided an opportunity for kids themselves (as well as adults) to weigh in.

On Halloween eve, they put up a banner in the lobby, asking questions like: What is your favorite food currently served at school? What food or dish do you wish was served? What should be banned? What are your favorite veggies? Is your lunch peaceful?

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The banner was left up for a week. Here’s what the community said…

Pizza, followed by chicken nuggets are the favorite foods served today.

Sushi (like by a landslide), ice-cream and popcorn should find their way into menus.

Kids like veggies and have opinions about how to prepare them! The favorites are kale chips and broccoli (steamed might be the winner there).

What should be banned? Fish! (Mexican fish seemed specifically offensive), PIZZA (huh?) and beans! Broccoli, too, made it on to this ‘naughty’ list…

Also interesting, what kids consider to be the healthiest food currently served at school… Carrots, “cold broccoli” and beans seem sensible, but pizza? I guess it must really be a veggie… (I bet CHM@L’s health and wellness club has recipes for a healthy version!)

Finally, there was telling feedback about the lunch experience beyond food. Most of it pointed to too loud and too short, but somehow, it’s hard to overlook the words disorganized and unorganized.

And there you have it! Statistically sound? Not quite, but I think it’s safe to say that there are plenty of opinions out there about school lunch. I spent about 30 mins (over the course of 2-3 drop off/pick ups) observing kids and parents weighing in. Quite often, parents mentioned that they did not respond to the DCPS survey because their children did not participate in school meals services.

I suggested they respond anyway, as they know what their children like to eat and this information is useful when vendors are planning meals.

While many of us have the option to participate, there are also many children who don’t. In some cases, all their meals come from school. Those meals should be as healthy and tasty as the meals parents pack.

Thanks to the parents, educators, policymakers, and students who work to ensure school meals are the best possible, and to everyone (especially the kids!) who planned and participated in this small ‘offline’ survey. The original banner will be sent to DCPS’ Food and Nutrition Services team, as well as the digitized results.

(Be sure to check out the bloopers – there are some jokers out there… especially those who suggested ‘dry farts’ should be banned from school lunch. Better out than in, I say!)

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