New cafeteria offerings were met with nods and smiles as well as a few shakes and grimaces at the Jessamine County school district’s first food fair Friday.
Food-services staff welcomed about 300 students — 30 from each elementary, middle and high school — to the gym in the Coolidge Building off Maple Street, where they judged vendors’ new concoctions that meet federal nutrition guidelines.
Regulations from the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act went into effect in the fall before manufacturers could create new products, Jessamine food-service director Karen Barden said. The result was smaller portions that drew the ire of parents and students.
“We had a lot of complaints at the beginning of the school year with the new guidelines, and we had stacks of letters from the children and the parents,” Barden said. “The manufacturers did not have enough time to really formulate the products that we need, and now, in January, all the new products came out, so we have healthier food items that meet the new guidelines, and we’re trying those with our students, because we realize that the menus have to be kid-friendly, not just healthy and nutritious.”