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Creating a Successful Salad Bar Program

Check out School Food Institute’s Salad Bars in Schools Course!

Salad bars are one of the best ways to get kids eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and having a strong salad bar plan can ensure the success of your salad bar program. The School Food Institute’s (SFI) online Salad Bars in Schools course goes in-depth into the planning and assessment needed for salad bar implementation, as well as the complex operational topics of recipe development, production records, and procurement that are the cornerstone of successful salad bars in schools. The course also looks at lunchroom education strategies that teach students proper use of the salad bar, while keeping them excited about going through the salad bar line.

SFI’s engaging lectures let you learn at your own pace, and the program includes one-on-one instructor support, helpful resources, real-world assignments, and peer learning and networking opportunities. Learn directly from Chef Ann Cooper, a leader in school food reform and childhood nutrition!

The course offers 2 professional development hours covering several USDA learning codes (see below) to help school food professionals create strong and sustainable salad bar programs. If you are interested in taking this course you can register to be added to our scholarship waitlist.

Course Outline & Objectives

The course covers topics such as Why Salad Bars?, Assessment and Planning, Training Staff and Students, Salad Bar Operations, Procurement, and Marketing and Education. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Evaluate your school district’s financial and operational readiness for implementing salad bars.
  2. Analyze the pros and cons of salad bar equipment options.
  3. Implement standard operating procedures and training for staff and students to ensure food safety and compliance with meal pattern requirements.
  4. Review a standardized salad bar recipe that meets meal pattern requirements.
  5. Complete production records for your salad bar.
  6. Forecast produce purchases and food costs to plan for salad bar procurement.
  7. Integrate lunchroom activities to promote your salad bar program.

USDA Professional Standards Learning Codes

Professional Standards for all school nutrition professionals is a requirement of the USDA in all states, and requires a minimum amount of annual training hours for all state directors of school nutrition programs, state directors of distributing agencies, school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff. The USDA guide to professional standards for school nutrition programs is available here.

The Salad Bars in Schools Course covers the following USDA Learning Codes:

Nutrition – 1000

  • 1100 – Plan and prepare standardized recipes, cycle menus, and meals, including the use of USDA Foods, to meet all Federal school nutrition program requirements, including the proper meal components.
  • 1200 – Utilize resources to prepare and integrate age/grade appropriate nutrition education curriculum with school nutrition programs.

Operations – 2000

  • 2100 – Utilize food preparation principles, production records, kitchen equipment, and food crediting to prepare foods from standardized recipes, including those for special diets.
  • 2600 – Utilize all food safety program guidelines and health department regulations to ensure optimal food safety.

Administration – 3000

  • 3500 – Evaluate school nutrition program equipment and facilities to ensure maximum efficiency and availability of healthy food choices.

Communications and Marketing – 4000

  • 4100 – Develop plans that include involvement with school and community members, empower school nutrition leaders, and address excelled customer service.

Create strong and sustainable salad bar programs with SFI’s Salad Bars to Schools course which takes you in-depth into everything from procurement to production records, detailing all of the back-of-the-house processes necessary to implement successful and sustainable salad bars.


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