There may be some new items on Colorado kids' lunch menus this school year. Over the summer, Denver hosted the School Nutrition Association’s annual conference.
Denver7 morning anchor Nicole Brady had a chance to sample some of the offerings from vendors that sell food directly to school districts. Many offer items with reduced fat or sodium to comply with USDA guidelines. But School Nutrition Association President Chris Derico said schools also try to keep up with flavor trends.
“In the schools, they like what they see out in the restaurants, (for example) the Nashville hot chicken is a little bit of a craze right now, so the things that they're seeing every day, they also now see in our school kitchen,” Derico said.
This school year, Colorado students will receive free breakfast and lunch in public schools, thanks to voters passing the Healthy School Meals for All initiative in November, 2022. Colorado School Nutrition Association President Molly Brandt said districts are expecting more kids to choose school meals because of that.
"We want them to feel like things are familiar, and it meets their cultural and personal food preferences," Brandt said.
The conference also featured technology like mobile apps that can help school cafeterias streamline the process and serve more kids.