United Fresh Start Foundation sends salad bars to Michigan schools

November 06, 2019

Seventeen Michigan schools are receiving salad bars to increase fresh, healthy options courtesy of United Fresh Start Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The salad bars are part of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which provides equipment and resources to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Since 2015, 91 salad bars have been placed in Michigan schools through this partnership.unitedsal

“We at Blue Cross are proud to continue this collaborative effort that has empowered more than 45,000 Michigan students statewide to make healthier choices at school,’” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Supporting research shows that incorporating salad bars into school lunches increases children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and that salad bars are one of the most effective school-based intervention strategies to achieve this goal. When offered healthy food choices in a salad bars, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and increasing daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Salad bars also help schools comply with the National School Lunch Program’s nutrition standards, which require offering a colorful variety of vegetable options each week.

“This partnership demonstrates the value of collaboration with like-minded organizations to benefit our children and empower their healthy choices each day,” said Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of the United Fresh Produce Association. “When a school implements a salad bar, in addition to offering fresh choices, it’s often the catalyst for a conversation amongst students, teachers, parents and the community, about choosing more fresh fruits and vegetables for better health, whether that’s at school, shopping at the grocery store or while dining out.”

The United Fresh Start Foundation is a founding partner of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which to date has helped facilitate the donation of salad bars over 5,600 schools, benefitting 3 million children in all 50 states.

Additional programs of the United Fresh Start Foundation include The School Foodservice Forum, a networking and education event to connect school nutrition leaders with the produce industry at the annual United Fresh Convention & Expo, and the Community Innovation Grants Program, which supports collaboration with like-minded stakeholders to increase children’s access, selection and consumption of fresh produce outside the school day.

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