Taste-testing puts students on road to healthy food

Kids more willing to try new items in small quantities at N.J. school

March 14—The small, round cheese-topped item on their plate  looked and smelled like a mini-pizza. And the 19 students sitting at cafeteria tables at Gloria M. Sabater Elementary School ate it up, just like it was pizza.

But it wasn’t pizza, it was actually eggplant parmesan. When told what it was, students said they’d still like to have it for lunch.

“Mmmmm. This is good,” said Robert Phillips, 9, as he circled the “happy face” on his rating sheet and added “Great Food!” in the comments section.

“I want more!” wrote Abigail Tollinchi, also 9.

Diane Holtaway, associate director of client services at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, was not all that surprised by the enthusiastic response to the eggplant.

“We kind of wondered about it,” she said. “But kids are more adventurous than you’d think. They are willing to try things if you present it in small quantities.”

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

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Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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