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Through a grant from the Let’s Move! Salad to Schools program, salad bars are being implemented into schools in Cordova, Alaska. These salad bars have a variety of fruits and vegetables, mostly raw, that the students love choosing from. Foods like raw spinach, cut up cauliflower, slide cucumbers, corn, peaches, orange slices, and many other items are featured in the salad bar, depending on what seasonal produce they can purchase.
The students are responding well because they prefer being able to make their own choices on which fruits or vegetables to eat, which results in less food waste for the school and more healthy foods are actually eaten by students. The success of salad bars, like this one, are dependent on the foods being cut up, fresh, and easy for kids to see. This all ensures that they get to pick the foods they want to eat, and therefore producing less waste and making the salad bar cost efficient.
The schools also try to use fresh and local ingredients in their main dishes as well. The Cordova District is utilizing local Alaskan food as much as possible, using salmon, halibut, barley flour, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, and pork from surrounding farms.
Students are now happy to choose their own selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, and are eating more of their lunches. By providing students with healthy foods they enjoy, they are helping reduce the intake of unhealthy snacks or competitive foods. Sande Ponte, the Food Service Manager for the Cordova School District, says the kids can tell the when school food is fresh and “they eat better and that is the whole point.”