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September is Fruits & Veggies — More Matters Month

Many Americans aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables, but salad bars in schools can help.

Research shows that fruits and vegetables are important to promoting good health. Yet, many Americans are not getting the recommended amount they need each day. 

Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases, including stroke, other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. However, it can be difficult for many Americans to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables because they might not be easily accessible, available, or affordable. 

Children eat more fruits and vegetables at school when they have a variety of choices, such as those provided in a self-serve salad bar. That’s what research and actual experience in schools are discovering. To accelerate this trend, the “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” program is offering incentives to help school lunch rooms become better equipped to provide tasty fruits and vegetables. 

Self-serve salad bars increase students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables in schools and, thanks to National School Lunch Program (NSLP) standards, 32 million students participating in the program are offered both fruits and vegetables every school day. Using salad bars is one way for schools to implement the nutrition standards for school lunch. 

Any school, public or private, participating in the NSLP can apply for a start-up award to help pay for salad bar equipment. And, members of the school community can help raise money for a salad bar by holding fundraising events or applying for small grants.  Interested schools can begin the salad bar application process by completing an online application at: www.saladbars2schools.org. The website also offers details about the benefits of salad bars, and resources to help roll out salad bars in schools.

Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools is an initiative of the Food Family Farming Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, United Fresh Produce Association Foundation, and Whole Foods Market to support First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative.