LCPS students stamp their approval on meals they want on their school menu

Earlier this month, high school students in the district were invited to the Las Cruces Convention Center where they sampled a variety of foods and snacks from different vendors.

Each student was given the opportunity to vote on the foods they enjoyed the most. The foods and snacks that receive the highest student vote, goes into consideration for the school breakfast and lunch menu for the next academic school year.

“Everybody is so nice, they are so welcoming at each stand to tell you all about the nutritional facts in what you are eating and consuming,” said Stephanie Jameson, a senior at Centennial High School.

“It’s really nice to know you have such good flavorings and products that are put out there specifically for students, and we can decide which ones we like, and vote,” Jameson added.

Each year, the Nutrition Services Department at Las Cruces Public Schools starts the process of selecting a combination of ingredients from local vendors. Each ingredient purchased, goes into preparing the meals you would find in any LCPS cafeteria. This is what drives the school breakfast and lunch menu for students in preparation for the upcoming school year.

The process for selecting items for the school menu involves choosing high quality nutritious meals that include a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables. Typically, managers from the Nutrition Services Department at LCPS travel to Albuquerque to attend a conference with local vendors where they begin the selection process of ingredients that make up the meals for the school menu.

This year, the Nutrition Services team decided to shake things up and invite students to a food show where they got the opportunity to sample nutritious meals and snacks from vendors who supply USDA Foods approved for schools throughout the state. The idea is to encourage more students to eat in the cafeteria. This experience gives students the choice on what they would like to see on their school menu.

“I think it’s important to learn what they like, and what they don’t, giving them the option of choosing what we are putting on the menu,” said Edwanda Williams, Executive Director of Nutrition Services.

“We want them to be able to concentrate in the classroom, so this is why it is so important for us to help the students and teachers out,” Williams added.

Currently, the Nutrition Services team is collaborating with the Operations Department at LCPS to gain insight from more students. The district is striving to incorporate students at the Elementary and Middle School level to join in on weighing their options and choosing the best tasting meals for their school menus.