Target Behavior: Healthy Eating
Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change
Intervention Reach and Adoption
Target Audience: Elementary School
- Create support for the program from the school board, the school administration, teachers, parents, PTAs, PTOs, nutrition services staff, and other stakeholders through meetings, salad bar demonstrations, and taste tests.
- Identify and recruit local farmers to provide fresh produce for the salad bar. Farmers can be identified by your local farmers’ market manager.
- Train school food service staff members to set up, prepare foods, order foods, document usage, monitor, and take down the salad bar.
- Conduct promotional activities (for example, a grand opening, family night, taste tests, “Eat Lunch with Your Child Day,” and newsletters). These activities stimulate interest in the program from students, teachers, and parents.
- Provide daily salad bar to all students as a school lunch meal alternative.
- Monitor the salad bar for compliance with the National School Lunch Program requirements for fruits, vegetables, and protein.
- Educate students about nutrition and the growing of local food (for example, food safety lessons, the Harvest of the Month program, farmer visits, taste tests, cooking carts, farm field trips, and school gardens).
- Work to ensure a revenue-neutral program through inventory control, ordering control, and cost control. For example, incorporating the use of some commodities received from the federal government drastically reduces the cost of certain items (e.g., proteins) that can offset the higher cost of fruits and vegetables purchased from farmers. Additionally, waste management decreases with the implementation of the salad bars, resulting in a lower food cost per student and contributes to offsetting the additional labor cost required to oversee the salad bar.
- Farmers’ Market Salad Bar Program Guide— Riverside Unified School District’s (RUSD) Nutrition Services created this guide to assist school food service directors in implementing their own salad bar program. It is a detailed “How-to” guide that includes a step-by-step tutorial on how to start a program, example menus, ordering forms, maintenance protocols, and more.
- Harvest of the Month— Harvest of the Month provides promotional materials and lesson plans that include hands-on activities focused on a specific fruit or vegetable that is in season and highlighted during a particular month of the school-year. The monthly rotation of fruits and vegetables is specific to California’s growing season. To see the materials described above, click on Monthly Elements at harvestofthemonth.com.
- Teacher Training— RUSD uses materials developed by California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom to train teachers how to incorporate agriculture-themed lessons into their classes. Training materials can be found at: cfaitc.org/index.php. Click on What’s Growin’ On in the Resources section to download the Teacher’s Supplement.
- Monthly Education Newsletter— In collaboration with Riverside Department of Public Health, RUSD’s Nutrition Services provide schools with a monthly education newsletter that includes hand-on activities such as gardening and physical activities. To see examples of Educator newsletters, visit: http://harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/extension-resources.aspx
- Monthly Family Newsletter— RUSD’s Nutrition Services sends a monthly newsletter home with every child that includes recipes, healthy eating tips, and tips for selecting, storing and serving featured produce. To see examples of Family newsletters, visit: http://harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/translated-newsletters.aspx
- Monthly Calendar Contest — Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students participate in a drawing/coloring contest featuring the fruit or vegetable of the month. Winners are included in a 12-month calendar and the grand prize winner is featured on the cover.
In 2008-2009, the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted an evaluation of the salad bar component of the program. Data were collected from four schools that received the salad bar during the 2008-2009 school year and were compared to data collected from two comparison schools that were to receive the salad bar during the following school year. Data were collected directly from students on the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed at lunch at the beginning and end of the school year. This evaluation also looked at school food service revenue and costs both before and after the program’s implementation.
In the 2005 evaluation, students eating at the salad bar ate an average of 2.36 servings of fruits and vegetables for lunch compared to 1.49 servings for those students who ate from the hot bar. This evaluation also found modest increases in students’ knowledge, awareness, and preferences for a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
The 2008-2009 evaluation found no increase in fruit and vegetable consumption overall among students in schools that received the salad bar during that school year compared to students in comparison schools. However, the evaluation results showed that children who chose the salad bar significantly increased consumption of fruits and vegetables at lunch by half a serving. The 2008-2009 evaluation also found that food costs were no greater in the salad bar schools compared to the comparison schools. The evaluation found a slight increase in labor hours per meal for schools implementing the salad bar. Both evaluations found that the program generates revenue for small farmers.
|Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST)||Changes – Medium Term (MT)||Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT)||Population Results (R)|
|Environmental Settings||ST5, ST6, ST7||MT5||LT5|
|Sectors of Influence||MT8|
The Riverside United School District Nutrition Services Department and the Center for Food and Justice at Occidental College evaluators created several materials for its evaluation that are also available for your use. Some of these tools have been incorporated into the evaluation plan that Center TRT developed. Please provide credit to the Riverside United School District Nutrition Services Department and the Center for Food and Justice at Occidental College when reproducing materials in the original, or adapted, form:
- Evaluation tool descriptions
- Farmer Interview Guide
- Educator Interview Guide
- Food Service Director Interview Guide
- Food Service Staff Interview Guide
- FruitVeggie Neophobia
- School Lunch Recall
Riverside Unified School District
3380 14th Street
Riverside, CA 92501
Phone: (951) 788-7135