2-day school nutrition conference kicks off Friday in Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - There's a big "taste test" happening this weekend in Savannah.

The 63rd annual Conference of the Georgia School Nutrition Association is taking place at the International Trade and Convention Center. School nutrition leaders will meet and sample a variety of healthy foods that could soon end up on your child's school lunch plate.

More than 800 Georgia school nutrition directors, cafeteria managers, and staff are in town for this annual conference where they collaborate on new school lunch ideas and recipes.

"Different ways to combine food is another thing we're seeing as well as scratch cooking. How can I prepare my recipes with your products. It's really neat as we walk around the exhibit to see our industry showing us how to menu their product," Georgia School Nutrition Association President said.

Those who attend the conference will get to go around and taste test a variety of different recipes. They'll discover new foods, try different sauces, and sample a variety of spices. Then, they'll consider what they want to take back to their schools, which will eventually end up on your student's food tray.

Exhibitors say they enjoy attending the conference, because they can learn about what students like and dislike.

"If they see kids are getting tired of products they let me know. 'Ula, this is what we're not looking for. We're looking for something new and innovative, something they'll want to see again.' This is why my company has buffalo pizza with chicken and barbeque pizza with chicken. And all of this pizza is approved for schools," Ula Kalinowski, Southeast Regional Director for Nardone Bros. Pizza, said.

The Georgia School Nutrition Association says there is a strong link between eating healthy school meals and academic success. The national Nutrition Standards for School Meals requires school meals to include a variety of fruits and vegetables, foods with whole-grain, and healthy snacks.

Over 200 school food exhibitors are expected to take part in this two-day conference, which will run Friday and Saturday, April 13-14.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.