When scheduling a tasting, always consult your food service director and chef. They will provide you with the information you need, including which tastings have been done before (if your school has held tastings previously) and what foods are available to your school. They can also help in the preparation of the tasting and/or lend you the kitchen space and tools you’ll need to make it yourself, as well as providing helpful cooking insights and tips.
Remember: tastings will be held differently in every lunchroom, so be sure to work with your food service staff to find a successful model for your school.
Introduce New Items!
When searching for a tasting recipe, review your state’s fruit and vegetable seasonality chart to see what produce is in season in your area. Coordinating your tastings with the Harvest of the Month will also ensure that your recipe includes seasonal items. Choosing seasonal produce for your area means buying locally and benefits not only your school, but the environment as well.
At each tasting, highlight nutritional makeups, healthy facts and even medicinal properties about the food being served. All fruits and vegetables (and many herbs and spices) have various nutrients, vitamins and minerals that help different parts of our bodies grow up strong and healthy, and relating these to your students’ bodies will make them excited to eat them.
Promote positive language in the lunchroom by having students fill out a Tasting Ballot in which they vote whether they “Tried It”, “Liked It”, or “Loved It”. Tally their votes and meet with your school’s food service staff to see if the students’ new favorite foods can be added to the lunch menu in the future.