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Fresh Food Initiatives

Here at The Lunch Box, we encourage school food to continually evolve and improve. This section is dedicated to the “Big Ideas” - areas we think make a huge impact and will play a large role in the future. School districts have so many opportunities to make food healthier; these are our most recommended (and requested!) topics for change.

Salad Bars

We believe that every school should (and can!) operate a salad bar as part of their healthy meal program. 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.

Key benefits of Salad Bars:

  • Increased fresh fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Increased student autonomy at mealtime
  • Ability to begin or expand procurement of local produce
  • Easy way to meet the USDA vegetable subgroup requirements
  • Opportunity for nutrition education and student engagement (e.g. Rainbow Days, Harvest of the Month, etc.)
  • Greater variety in student diet

Salad Bars

We believe that every school should (and can!) operate a salad bar as part of their healthy meal program. 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.

Key benefits of Salad Bars:

  • Increased fresh fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Increased student autonomy at mealtime
  • Ability to begin or expand procurement of local produce
  • Easy way to meet the USDA vegetable subgroup requirements
  • Opportunity for nutrition education and student engagement (e.g. Rainbow Days, Harvest of the Month, etc.)
  • Greater variety in student diet

School Breakfast

With 17+ million food-insecure households, guaranteed breakfast at school is a real and proven solution to combating hunger and providing our most vulnerable population a pathway to academic success and a healthy future. Ensuring that kids start the day with breakfast is a great first step, but not all breakfasts are equal. We encourage schools to provide a less-processed breakfast that incorporates fresh, whole ingredients with a protein component.

Key benefits of Breakfast:

School Breakfast

With 17+ million food-insecure households, guaranteed breakfast at school is a real and proven solution to combating hunger and providing our most vulnerable population a pathway to academic success and a healthy future. Ensuring that kids start the day with breakfast is a great first step, but not all breakfasts are equal. We encourage schools to provide a less-processed breakfast that incorporates fresh, whole ingredients with a protein component.

Key benefits of Breakfast:

Sustainable Lunchrooms

With an ever-increasing focus on environmental impacts and sustainable methods, school food presents a major opportunity for positive change. Any school or district can start to implement sustainable practices, although more extensive improvements will require a dedicated effort.

Key benefits of Sustainable Lunchrooms:

  • Reduced long-term expenditures in serviceware supplies (e.g. reusable lunch trays)
  • Reduced food and packaging waste
  • Educational opportunities for students to learn about the connections between the food they eat and the larger environment
  • Lower food cost with plant-forward recipes, extra funds can reallocate to higher-quality ingredients
  • Limited use of harsh cleaning chemicals

Sustainable Lunchrooms

With an ever-increasing focus on environmental impacts and sustainable methods, school food presents a major opportunity for positive change. Any school or district can start to implement sustainable practices, although more extensive improvements will require a dedicated effort.

Key benefits of Sustainable Lunchrooms:

  • Reduced long-term expenditures in serviceware supplies (e.g. reusable lunch trays)
  • Reduced food and packaging waste
  • Educational opportunities for students to learn about the connections between the food they eat and the larger environment
  • Lower food cost with plant-forward recipes, extra funds can reallocate to higher-quality ingredients
  • Limited use of harsh cleaning chemicals

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