According to Grist.org, the White House is expecting to announce an initiative that will bring salad bars to 5,000 public schools nationwide. Underscoring Mrs. Obama’s LetsMove.org campaign for making healthier choices, this salad bar concept is sure to mix things up.
One potential obstacle to the program is the refusal of many school districts to install salad bars for food-safety reasons and because of cumbersome USDA rules governing the federally subsidized school lunch program that feeds some 31 million U.S. school children every day.
With cost, food-safety and the way some kids are conditioned to feel about veggies, I have no doubt the salad bar concept in schools will bring as much criticism as it will bring praise. I loved reading that Whole Foods partnered with a coalition that teamed with the produce industry to raise $1.4 million from customers to establish a grant program that would place salad bars in qualifying schools.
One important statistic I found while researching this topic: according to a UCLA study done in 2007, elementary schools can significantly increase the frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income students by providing a lunch salad bar.
Now, that’s food for thought.
I appreciate the idea to bring more salads to kids, but can it be executed in a way that works all around? Again, the actual announcement isn’t expected until Monday, but I’ll be watching for the official news.