A Salad Bar in Every School
The United Fresh Produce Association released an article today discussing their efforts to make sure there is a salad bar in every school cafeteria in the United States. This article caught my eye because I believe school nutrition is an issue that needs to be addressed. I mean, I remember what I used to eat from the cafeteria and it was not good.
It’s refreshing to see United Fresh taking a stand on school nutrition. Later in the article it mentioned past efforts they have been successful with including a nationwide expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program and the inclusion of produce in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC). The more people that can get access to fresh fruits and vegetables, the happier I am.
I did some additional reading and came across this USDA website that had a lot of statistics, here are some of the ones I found the most interesting:
- 21% of schools offer a salad bar atleast one time per week.
- Salad bars are most common in high schools and least common in elementary schools.
- On a typical school day, 20% of public school children have access to a salad bar, if they are enrolled at a school with one. However, ‘affluent’ schools with paid students are more likely to have a salad bar than other schools with higher percentages of free and reduced price students.
- The presence of a salad bar is related to school characteristics and schools offering a salad bar atleast one time per week have a lower percentage of students who are free and reduced price than schools without salad bars.
I actually got a little offended by these statistics. I truly think that elementary schools should have and need salad bars more than high schools. The younger children need the nutrition and also need to learn about eating healthy vegetables and fruits while they are young. Instilling healthy habits early will help continue those habits later in life. I am not saying that middle and high schools should not have salad bars, it is just as important for them too. As for the most ‘affluent’ schools having salad bars, that makes sense, however, it is not really fair, it should be an option every day for all school children.
So when I read this article, I was really excited that United Fresh is taking this on. I want to see every school offer salad bar options to students, no matter status or age. I support United Fresh in this and I hope you will too.
photo from flickr