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What Can I Do To Change School Lunch?

The Lunch Box has recently been getting letters and calls from students who want to change the food at their school! Hurray!

We’re proud to share an email interview with a fifth grader from Florida. Check it out:

Dear Barbara,

I want to make my school’s lunches healthier and better tasting. What changes have you seen that work for schools?

Hi Jacob,

Thanks for your note! We’re so glad you are interested in improving the food at your school. I hope my responses will help you have great success. I just got a call from a Director of Nutrition Services from a large district yesterday who is interested in applying for a salad bar grant because one of the students in her school presented at a PTA meeting about improvements she hoped for. When the NS Director said she did not have money to buy equipment, the student was able to tell her about the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools grant. Salad bars are a terrific first step towards better food. We have already heard from schools that are using their salad bars that more kids are eating lunches now that a salad bar is offered. Other ideas include changing out menu items gradually to test out healthier options. Try marketing those days to prove that if the food changes, kids will eat the healthier food.

Do you have any ideas on how to help kids want to eat healthier?

Lots of small things can make a big difference. Offering samples of new foods is a great way to help kids want to eat new/healthier foods; many kids would enjoy it if they try it a few times. Also, a little information goes a long way, healthy food posters or having parent volunteers come in and talk about what healthy food does for our bodies can be very helpful.

I am interested in trying to get a salad bar for my school cafeteria (if I can get permission). Is it possible for a student to accomplish this?

It is possible! Please remember the people in charge have the difficult job of feeding a lot of people with very little money. If you approach the school/district leadership with information and respect for their challenges, you may be able to convince them to apply for a grant and to implement a salad bar. There is also responsibility in following through with the grant so we ask that the Food Services Director complete the applications.

What fruits and vegetables work best in a salad bar for elementary schools?

That depends on the school and the time of the year, at, we have some examples of ways to set up salad bars during different seasons but it really depends on what is available and affordable for your school.

What other resources do you know of to help me educate both my fellow students and the adults in charge of the food service for my school about healthy eating and changes we can make?

We’ve got lots of videos and documents up on

-All of the resources related to salad bars will show up here: //

-For some videos on how you can help change school food, go to our Get Inspired page and all related videos will appear: //

Thank you for taking time to help me!


Jacob Garff

Thanks for caring about what food is served at your school and working to change it for the better!


Barbara Ann McMonigal

Program Coordinator

Food Family Farming Foundation


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