A new spice lab is spicing up school lunches, and encouraging children to pick their flavors and make healthy choices.

In Cassia County, the spice lab is available to every school in the district.  It is set up at the end of the food line on a small table.

“It helps the students embrace as many foods as possible,” said school cook Lyndsey Hollingsworth. “They are using it every day and if we are having potatoes, almost all of them come through the spice lab.”

In fact, the spice lab is so popular that cooks have asked shop student to make a new table that will allow more space for a bigger variety. Per student request, spicier choices like tabasco sauce are on the list.

“All that’s stopping us from expanding is the space,” Hollingsworth said.

The number of students eating lunch has increased this year, from 280 lunches a day to about 330. The spice program was implemented by food service supervisor Angela Rodriguez, who has created new recipes.

Rodriguez is the state’s child nutrition director.  She said keeping the meals within the established food service guidelines tends to makes them less tasty.

Adding spices during the cooking alleviates blandness, but on a large scale it is difficult to please everyone.

“What do you have left,” Rodriquez said. “Kids said the food was bland.” With the spice lab, students can make choices about their food flavor and make the decision on their own how their food should taste.

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