Fossil Ridge High School students gave passing marks to lunches served from the Keller school district’s new food truck.
Adding bacon to burgers could make the grade ever higher, a student said.
District officials say the Street Eatz truck is one of the state’s first mobile food service vehicles operated by public schools.
Last summer, trustees approved spending $257,560 from the child nutrition fund savings account to buy a food truck that would be operated by Sodexo, the district's food service contractor.
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Building and outfitting the truck took a number of months. Then came training and a wait for a Tarrant County inspection.
During a soft rollout Thursday and Friday, hundreds of students feasted on char-grilled burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, French bread pizza and taquitos.
“I like it,” freshman Sidney Brown said as she munched on a chicken sandwich. “Their food is good.”
Classmate Aveion Bailey said she liked the setup and the friendly service. And she politely recommended to the cooks that they should add bacon to the cheeseburgers.
That’s not likely because of nutritional guidlines, which limit the fat, sodium and calories school lunches can contain. A meal should be no more than about 750 calories. A quick Google search shows a bacon cheeseburger with 783 calories.
“We’re always looking for ways to make the program better and get more participation,” said McKensie Montgomery, the district’s dietitian. “The challenge is we have to balance flavor and nutrition.”
We’re always looking for ways to make the program better and get more participation. The challenge is we have to balance flavor and nutrition.
McKensie Montgomery, KISD dietician
District chef Sergio Salinas said he develops spice combinations to maximize flavor without going over the sodium or fat limits. His blend on the burgers included a little salt with pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
The federal rules also require that students on free and reduced-price meal plans receive fruits and vegetables in addition to protein and grain items.
Montgomery made sure that students had lettuce and tomatoes for sandwich toppings, and apples or fruit juice as options for their lunches.
Aaron Lucht, the district’s food service manager, said the truck is equipped with most everything you’d find in a school kitchen: a griddle, a char-broil grill, a circular oven for pizza and toasted items, a hot holding compartment, cooler, freezer and dishwashing area.
Lucht said that the truck will rotate among the four Keller district high schools, Mondays through Thursdays, and go to special events.
“I definitely see some tailgating in the future and going to some Friday night football games so parents can try it, too,” Lucht said.
As the aroma of burgers on the grill wafted over the line of students waiting to place their orders, sophomore Cameron Wallace was back for the second day in a row for another cheeseburger.
“I like it. It’s fresh,” Cameron said. “It’s new.”