Salad Bars to Schools

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, and education of unfamiliar foods, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and eating more fruits and vegetables each day. Through these early, positive experiences, students are developing palates for a lifetime of healthy eating.

To maximize these benefits, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity 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 consumption of vegetables and fruits by changing the school lunch requirements to 6.25 - 10 servings of fruits and vegetables weekly depending on grade level and adding new requirements for legumes and vegetable subgroups. 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.” The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report, "School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children," cites a 2007 study that determined that “salad bar programs in public schools indicate positive effects on fruit and vegetable consumption.”

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools (LMSB2S) launched in 2010 with the mission of donating salad bars to U.S. schools so that every child has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This healthy school lunch initiative was founded by Food Family Farming Foundation (now the Chef Ann Foundation), National Fruit and Vegetable AllianceUnited Fresh Produce Association Foundation, and Whole Foods Market in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.

View the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools 2013 Salad Bar Evaluation Executive Summary & Infographic >

Applying for a Grant

Visit the Get a Salad Bar page at LMSB2S to read the application guidelines and FAQs.