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Columbia, SC (WLTX)-- Cafeteria staff from Lexington-Richland School District 5 are being encouraged to add versatility to their style of cooking.

They were invited to receive special training Tuesday on how to prepare produce and handle kitchen tools.

On their training menu was a low in sodium meal called the "All-Star- Five Soup, whiich consists of black eyed-peas, celery, onions, and carrots.

Myra Smith is a lunch manager whose served cafeteria food for years. This training session was time she's branched out from traditional styles of cafeteria food.

"I think it's a challenge," said Smith. "Some of our ladies are kind of set in their ways on how they cook things. So they're having to learn a whole different way of cooking. So it's going to be a challenge, but I think we can do it."

These sessions are also beneficial for the workers to handle equipment properly.

"I know we tend to use our knives the wrong way and we end up with energies' being cut, so it's learning how to use those instruments properly", said Smith.

Overall, Smith wants to see a trickle-down effect on the students.

"I hope this is going to increase participation in the lunch room, a lot of our children only get a good meal that we're serve them in school. It's important that we serve them healthy foods," said Smith.

The director of student nutrition, Todd Bendenbugh, has spent his fair share of days in the kitchen. He's also optimistic about trying new things in the kitchen and hopes that parents and students will use these ideas at home.

"They have the same opportunity to do the same foods at home," said Bendenbugh. "They're exposed to foods in the cafeteria to help benefit the families as well."

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