PORT ISABEL — From juice boxes to chicken quesadillas and even tamales, Jordan Badilo, 9, took his time sampling different foods and drinks that were displayed on several tables in the cafeteria.
Immediately after tasting each item, Jordan searched for a clear spot on nearby tables so he could write how he felt about it on his product evaluation form.
The Point Isabel Independent School District hosted its first Food and Nutrition Showcase Thursday evening at the Port Isabel High School.
Faculty, staff, students, parents and community members were invited to sample and provide input on the school district’s breakfast and lunch items that are served daily.
Coinciding with the district’s safari theme for this school year, the Food and Nutrition Showcase’s theme name was “Wild About Nutrition.”
According to Audrey Pena, PI ISD’s Food Service Director, the district prepared a variety of food samples for about 300 people.
“Our goal is to get feedback from the students, parents, and community members to see what they enjoy and want to see out there,” Pena said. “At the end of the day, we want to know what the kids enjoy and want to see on our menu.”
At least 100 parents, students and community members attended the event.
Every participating adult and student were each given color-coded product evaluation forms to tally and comment on how they felt about the food.
PI ISD School Board Vice President Jimmy L. Vela said he was happy to see many parents and students participating in the event together as a family.
“We know that cafeteria food is always a big issue with our students nowadays,” Vela said. “So having our parents here with the students and actually seeing what they eat is great because they get to really experience what the kids are consuming.”
According to Pena, the school district has close to 2,100 students as of Jan.13.
“Our menus are slightly different for the campuses depending on which age group they are, but we have things like sausage biscuits to assorted muffins, breakfast kolaches, pancakes with sausage, mini French toast, breakfast tacos, cinnamon rolls, eggs and cheese biscuits,” Pena said. “And then we have a lot of dry stuff too, which are assorted cereals and PB&J’s so we make sure to get a combination of both hot and cold items.”
Kyra Hudson, 40, attended the Food and Nutrition Showcase with her two children who attend Derry Elementary.
“They eat lunch there every day and I try to stay involved in what’s going on in the schools,” Hudson said. “I think they’re doing a great job at having a diversity of food items.”
Pena said she and her staff have had caterings before, but they were especially looking forward to hosting their first Food and Nutrition Showcase.
“My staff and I have been working really long on this and we’re here for the students,” Pena said. “And if there’s anything that we can do on our end to make sure they are eating healthy food and enjoying it, we can do that for them.”