Weld RE 4 School District
Learnings from the Field
Age Group: K-5
School Size: Medium (301-900)
School Environment: Suburban
School F/R: 40%
School ADP: 54%
Kids Encouraged to Taste at Least Three Different Colors During Eat a Rainbow Day
Almost every one of Skyline Elementary’s 379 students enjoyed a free salad during one of the school’s three Eat a Rainbow days. The events, held during lunch, encouraged all students to create their own salad comprising at least three different colors of fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether they brought a lunch from home or ate a school meal.
The Eat a Rainbow days helped teach students about nutrition, while introducing students to new foods: Just under two thirds of students said they tried something new at each of the three events. To encourage all students to try items, teachers dressed up in rainbow clothes and helped out at the salad bar.
The school embraced the opportunity to present different types of fruits and vegetables that the district might not normally purchase. Eggplant and squash were two items some students had never seen or tasted before, and bell peppers became a new favorite.
Volunteers from Colorado State University worked with nutrition services staff to help identify and explain the new foods to students, and to teach them about the nutritional importance of eating varied fruits and vegetables.
To help educate students about where their food comes from and how it was grown, Skyline Elementary also worked with Big Willy’s Farm in nearby Loveland to add regional, organic Heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers to the salad bar.
Laura Stoneman, director of Nutrition Services for Weld RE-4 School District concurred that the Eat a Rainbow days were a great way to introduce students to new and different produce.
“Our greatest successes were being able to offer more variety of fruits and vegetables, seeing how excited the students were to try the varieties and seeing the students become more accepting of the different kinds of fruits and vegetables that are available.”
- The school’s food service staff saw an increase in lunch participation at the school’s salad bar as kids continued to try different vegetables beyond the tasting events.
- The school’s mission to procure local produce was challenged by the limited availability of produce from local farms during the spring months.
- Skyview lunch staff found it difficult to serve all students and allow them to taste and enjoy their vegetables in a single lunch period.
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