In 6th grade I began packing my own lunches, I was a proud independent lunch packer. Often my choices were audacious, consisting of a pack of Raman noodles, a banana and some chips; or perhaps dry cereal and a few peaches.
One day a week I was given $2 dollars for a top notch school lunch, usually chicken fried steak smothered in gravy, a roll and a tiny plastic cup containing a pinch of shredded lettuce and smothered ranch. On occasion, I would skip the ‘hot meal’ all together and opt for a bag of cheesy Doritos and a chocolate brownie. Yikes.
Has anyone else heard about the Salad Bars to Schools campaign?
“Both academic research and actual experience in schools across the country are increasingly demonstrating that school children significantly increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables when given a variety of choices in a school fruit and vegetable salad bar. When offered multiple fruit and vegetable choices, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and increasing their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
The benefit of salad bars in schools extends beyond the healthy foods consumed during the breakfast or lunch hour. Increased daily access to a variety of fruits and vegetables provides a personal experience about choices that can shape behavior far beyond the school lunch line. Children learn to make decisions that carry over outside of school, providing a platform for a lifetime of healthy snack and meal choices.
The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity has endorsed schools using salad bars and upgrading cafeteria equipment to support providing healthier foods to kids. In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine concluded that schools need to add as many as two servings of fruits and vegetables daily to meals in order to meet children’s basic health requirements.
Many school districts are either unaware of the benefits salad bars can bring to their students, or have been unable to afford the basic equipment needed to adopt this strategy. The powerful health benefit that can come with a modern, food-safety compliant salad bar is too often blocked by the prohibitive capital cost in many school districts. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is creating the opportunity make change.”
Let’s help our kids make healthy choices. Find out how you can get involved here.