Salad Bars to Schools

Research shows that incorporating salad bars into school lunches increases children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Salad bars profoundly shift the typical school lunch by offering students not only variety but also choice. Schools with salad bars offer a wider variety of vegetables and fruits than other schools. Through repeat exposure, encouragement, and education of unfamiliar foods, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and eating more fruits and vegetables each day. Through these early, positive experiences, students are developing palates for a lifetime of healthy eating.

To maximize these benefits, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity endorses the use of salad bars in schools and upgrading cafeteria equipment in order to provide healthy meals for kids. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 and the resulting new school meal guidelines that went into effect in 2012 support increasing consumption of vegetables and fruits by changing the school lunch requirements to 6.25 - 10 servings of fruits and vegetables weekly depending on grade level and adding new requirements for legumes and vegetable subgroups. The USDA encourages the use of salad bars in the school meal programs stating: “Salad bars continue to be a great option for meeting the meal pattern requirements.” The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report, "School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children," cites a 2007 study that determined that “salad bar programs in public schools indicate positive effects on fruit and vegetable consumption.”

Salad Bars to Schools (SB2S) launched in 2010 with the mission of donating salad bars to U.S. schools so that every child has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This healthy school lunch initiative was founded by Food Family Farming Foundation (now the Chef Ann Foundation), National Fruit and Vegetable AllianceUnited Fresh Start Foundation, and Whole Foods Market in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.

View the Salad Bars to Schools 2013 Salad Bar Evaluation Executive Summary & Infographic >

Applying for a Grant

SB2S awards salad bar packages to help school districts expand their commitment to serving fresh fruits and vegetables. Schools use the grants (approx. $3,147 value) to implement salad bars as part of their daily meal programs. As a managing partner of SB2S, CAF helps school districts through the application, fundraising, and fulfillment processes. We also provide planning and implementation resources for Salad Bars at The Lunch Box.

Who Can Apply

Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible to apply.

Grant Requirements

To qualify for a Salad Bars to Schools grant, you must offer the salad bar as part of the reimbursable meal served in your district. The 6-foot, five-well salad bar package is appropriate for locations that serve at least 100 reimbursable meals daily.



Let’s Move! is an initiative, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama that is dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. 


The Salad Bars section of The Lunch Box provides detailed technical guidance for implementing salad bars in your district.