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UISD Students Vote for Favorite School Lunch Foods

Posted Date: 12/08/2023

UISD Students Vote for Favorite School Lunch Foods

The UISD "Food Show 2023" was bigger and better this year with more than 700 students attending at the Sames Auto Arena.  The event is held annually by the Child Nutrition Department to obtain student feedback on possible new menu items for the following school year.  


This year, students from all the grade levels K-12 got a green taste tester hat to wear as they made their way to each booth sampling the food items for breakfast and lunch.  Student volunteers from Johnson and United High Schools were present at each of the 27 booths.  They recorded the kids’ votes on iPads with Google forms thanks to the UISD Technology Department.  


A total of 26 schools participated, and the students were accompanied by their teachers and administrators. The elementary students arrived first at the arena, and the middle and high school students followed, visiting the vendors set up around the arena lobby area. 


The event is organized by the district's dietitians Elisa Schwartz, Enrique Lira and Alessandra Mendiola. When the student votes are counted, the district uses the valuable information to help plan the next year's school menu. If kid-approved, some of the new foods could be selected for the student’s breakfast and lunch options.


Elisa Schwartz says the kids have a great time and provide valuable input.


"The kids are excited to be here to try the different foods,” she said. “We have items like fish, taquitos, baked goods, and breakfast foods with eggs, which is something new. 


The students' opinions are important to us; they're our customers. We want to feed them foods that they like, and this is an opportunity for them to taste and try new foods that can be on the menu for next year."


The district must follow nutritional guidelines provided by the Texas Department of Agriculture to include items that are high in fiber, low fat, low sodium, and whole grain.  The event has been taking place for more than a decade.


“UISD belongs to the Region 1 South Texas Cooperative; and through them, we network with different companies that are geared to providing the food that is pertinent to the K-12 companies.  They visit us throughout the year and provide samples for showcase selection.”


Hannah Bautista, 4th grader from Amparo Gutierrez Elementary, enjoyed the experience.


"We are trying food at the Sames Auto arena, and some of it is really good. It's my second time here, and I've tried five things so far. My favorite food so far is pizza and fish sticks.  The thing I like the most is that I'm here with my friends.” 


The students say they love to discuss the food options with their classmates.


Enrique Sanchez, 4th grader from Amparo Gutierrez Elementary, says being a food taster is amazing. 


“I love trying the food; it's my third time participating.  I really like the pizza bites and the fish bites, but everything is good. I give it all a chance, but those are my two favorites.

I’m looking for something crispy, but you should never judge a book by its cover.”


Schwartz says if the students don't like the food, they likely won’t eat it. 


“It must be something tasty that is appealing to them. We feel good when the kids like what we're serving them. That's why they are here today, to give us their opinions on what kinds of foods they want us to serve in their schools.”

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