Students say school cafeteria has variety

School Lunch

Riverside Elementary second-grader Sienna Shanke, right, serves herself a baked chicken patty as her classmates, from left, Madison Beatty (partially hidden), Kristen Pittner and Monica Delgado follow her down the lunch line.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The days of mystery meat and sodden vegetables are long gone, school cafeteria managers said, as north county schools observe the School Nutrition Association’s National School Lunch Week.

With a choice of 10 entrées a day in high school, between five and eight a day in middle school, and four entréesincluding two cold and two hotat the elementary level, students have more choices under the Okaloosa School District’s new food service than when the district ran school cafeterias with food pre-made at a central kitchen.

“There’s still a perception among some people that everything is coming from a central kitchen, but it doesn’t,” said Larry Haile, general manager of Sodexo Education’s Okaloosa School District office. “Everything is made fresh at each school.”

“It’s a lot better now than a couple years ago,” Crestview High School senior James Reid said, adding that his favorite menu selection is the made-to-order sub sandwiches.

The hoagies, which include a popular toppings bar, and a wider choice of beverages including 100 percent fruit juices and flavored waters, but no carbonated sugary drinks, also appealed to Baker School eighth-grader Jamaal Day.

“I think it’s nice not having to drink milk all the time,” Jamaal said. “I personally like eating the subs here.”

Crestview High senior Alex Andrews is partial to the pizza made on a whole-wheat crust with low-fat cheese.

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