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Charlotte-Mecklenburg High Schools Revamp Lunch Menu

Students sampling new lunch offerings.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools are changing what's for lunch next year. Yesterday they set up 29 different food vendors at a local school to give taste tests to the biggest critics of school lunches - the students. The gym at Whitewater Middle School turned into a giant buffet for about 200 8th graders. They go from table to table, trying small samples of all kinds of food and rating them on a piece of paper. They're getting the taste tests because they'll be the ones eating from the new menu the next four years. Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools are revamping their menus because many of the 8th graders said the normal cafeteria food is "terrible." The students all have friends who skip lunch or bring their own to avoid the cafeteria stuff. But most of the students said the food served at the taste test was much, much better. They had a lot to choose from - CMS asked its vendors to spice up their products or try something new. One vendor served whole grain lasagna, some turkey pot roast, French fries, and a blueberry pancake wrap. It's just as healthy as the normal stuff, said Amy Harkey. She's the assistant director of child nutrition at CMS. "We still have to meet the lower fat, lower saturated fat, no trans fat guidelines," Harkey said. "We still have to push whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Most of what's going on here is the entree item - what can we get to draw the children into the cafeteria. Because a lot of high school students skip meals." CMS will look over the students' taste test sheets to help determine what's on next year's lunch menu.