Many schools find it difficult to get their students to take advantage of the healthy choices they offer in their cafeterias. The foodservice officials at Thompson School District in Loveland, Colo., are trying to encourage healthy eating habits by making fruits and vegetables more accessible and increasing the quality of food in the cafeteria.
“The first salad bar was implemented in Spring 2016, and it snowballed from there,” said Lisa Kendall, Director of Food Nutrition Services at TSD. “Our priority was elementary schools, but as we started getting them, we implemented them in middle schools and high schools and all that as well.”
Today, TSD has salad bars in every single one of their 34 sites; almost all of them are Cambro Versa Food Bars.
“We have a lot of Cambro products. I like Cambro’s salad bars because they come in different heights. It’s a nice-looking, quality product,” said Kendall.
TSD can outfit their sites with salad bars largely because of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools grant. They’ve also purchased a few with capital project money.
Serving a total of 10,000 meals a day, TSD offers seasonal vegetables and fruits for students to choose from at their salad bars. Occasionally, Kendall says they’ve transformed it into a parfait bar as well.
After all these changes, Kendall says they’ve seen results.
“We’ve seen interest peak among kids. Kids that had salad bars in elementary expect to see it in middle school or high school too. We’ve seen that kids that are introduced to fruits and vegetables early are more likely to keep this eating habit when they are older,” said Kendall.
The poverty rate among the students at TSD sites fluctuates between 37 to 40 percent on average, but Kendall says a few schools are in the higher percentile.
“Making fruits and vegetables accessible to all kids is our goal, and kids from low income families particularly,” said Kendall. It’s important to make fruits and vegetables accessible to those kids.”
To learn more about how your school could receive a Cambro Versa Food Bar, visit: www.saladbars2schools.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.