A say in what they eat

Two dozen Laguna Beach High School students helped decide the fate of three types of breakfast breads last week.

While they munched on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hamburgers during lunch Jan. 8, volunteers handed out bite-size pieces of three types of breakfast breads: zucchini, berry and banana.

Members of health teacher Cassie Brooker's extra-credit freshman class, known as the Student Nutrition Advocates Committee, tasted each type of bread and voted for their favorite on slips of paper.

The survey was part of the Laguna Beach Unified School District nutrition department's effort to gather feedback in the hope of developing menu items that students like while adhering to healthier U.S.Department of Agriculture standards — which emphasize more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Bread samples came from an outside bakery, said Megan Hartshorne, the district's nutrition consultant, who helped conduct the test Wednesday.

Banana garnered the most votes, at 13, while berry tallied seven and zucchini four, Hartshorne reported.


conducted the same taste test with Thurston Middle School's leadership class on Friday and, based on feedback, banana bread will eventually appear on the menu at both schools, she said.

Thurston students also liked zucchini, so Hartshorne may include that choice at that school.

The same bakery that supplied the samples will provide the bread once it's on the menu, according to Hartshorne.

The taste tests occur each month. Earlier this school year, students tested cinnamon rolls and a minestrone soup, both of which are now on the menu, she said.

"The student feedback is what drives the changes that we make in our school kitchens and on the menus," Hartshorne said in a related news release. "This fall, not only did students drive a lot of changes to the lunch menu, but also they expressed specific changes they wanted to see on the breakfast menu."

The bread tasting was an ideal segue into this week's breakfast campaign, a schoolwide push to promote the importance of eating breakfast with finals looming next week.

All breakfast items were to be offered each day throughout the week, Hartshorne said.

Breakfast items at the high school include breakfast burritos, yogurt parfaits and breakfast sandwiches, served with a side of seasonal fruit and milk, the district website said.

Research has proven that children who eat breakfast have higher math and reading scores, and studies show that students who eat breakfast are absent and tardy less often, according to the district's website.

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