Atlanta Public Schools (APS) beefed up their school lunch program this month, launching the “Salad Bowl” program, which gives kids access to a salad bar and local produce.
The school salad bars will always include greens, cucumber, and tomatoes, and they’ll rotate other fresh fruits and veggies in weekly to keep it interesting. APS is also partnering with are farms to source locally-grown produce for the salad bar, and kids will be filling up biodegradable paper bowls and trays rather than Styrofoam or plastic.
Healthy eating habits start in childhood, and access to fresh, healthy food as part of the school lunch program can help kids form healthy eating habits for life. While you might think your kid would turn her nose up at a salad instead of french fries, but that’s not always the case. According to the APS website:
The salad bowl is a result of an 8-month experiment at Jones Elementary School. Students were offered a variety of fruits and vegetables to determine which were the most popular items. Their preferences were then aligned with the appropriate nutrient content that students need for a balanced diet. Our goal is for our students to enjoy their meals as they participate in a healthy selection of natural foods for proper learning and growth.
The best part about this program? The healthy food won’t cost more than the usual cafeteria fare.
What are the school lunch options like in your area? I’d love to hear what other schools are doing – or not doing – to improve school lunches.