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About 250 students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are getting a chance to help decide what might make up the school's menu for next school year.
They took part in the district's 3rd Annual Food Show Wednesday at Bank of America stadium. Students got to taste more than 130 dishes from different vendors - and all the food is within the USDA's new guidelines.
"They are getting whole grains and they don't know it," Assistant Director of Child Nutrition Services Amy Harkey said.
"They are getting sweet potatoes and juices. They are getting things they might not have imagined - like banana bread, zucchini bread, and tortellini."
Administrators say students who have good healthy food choices at school could help boost academic achievement.
"A child that skips breakfast is not going to have fuel to get their brain going in the morning," Harkey said. "They won't perform as well on standardized tests."
Students are taking their assignment as official food tasters seriously.
"I feel kind of powerful," 8th grader Madias Loper said. "I get to speak for the students at my school."
Last year students who participated in the food show decided about 10 new items for this year's lunch menu.
Administrators will review the student surveys for each dish. Any dish with more than a 70% approval rating will get a "callback" for another sampling. Then, it might be added to a school menu.
CMS says it is using students as taste testers because students know what they like and will eat.