Why Salad Bars?
Research shows that incorporating salad bars into school lunches increases children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Salad bars profoundly shift the typical school lunch by offering students not only variety but also choice.
Schools with salad bars offer a wider variety of vegetables and fruits than other schools. Through repeat exposure, encouragement to try unfamiliar foods, and education, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and eating more fruits and vegetables each day. As a result of these early, positive experiences, students develop palates for a lifetime of healthy eating.
To maximize these benefits, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity in their May 2010 Report to the President endorses the use of salad bars in schools and upgrading cafeteria equipment in order to provide healthy meals for kids. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 and the resulting new school meal guidelines that went into effect in 2012 support increasing vegetable and fruit consumption by changing the school lunch requirements to 6.25 – 10 servings of fruits and vegetables weekly. The USDA encourages the use of salad bars in the school meal programs stating, “Salad bars continue to be a great option for meeting the meal pattern requirements.”
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