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Why Salad Bars at RLHS/RLMS?


Dear Parents/Guardian

Welcome to the 2011-12 school year. The Red Lake School District wants to inform you about a two exciting changes in food service for the 11-12 school year. The first big change is the implementation of Salad Bars in the Red Lake High School and the Red Lake Middle School. We have partnered with District #197-West St. Paul and received a grant in which we will be developing best practices for salad bars in the state of Minnesota. This has been a lot of work and we as a district are very proud of this implementation. The second change is switching to Offer vs. Serve. Offer vs. Serve empowers the children to make good healthy choices in our breakfast and lunch program. The District encourages students to consume fruits and vegetables. We do this by allowing students the opportunity to take as many fruits and vegetables as they would like.

Why Salad Bars?

Both academic research and actual experience in schools across the country are increasingly demonstrating that school children significantly increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables when given a variety of choices in a school fruit and vegetable salad bar. When offered multiple fruit and vegetable choices, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and increasing their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The benefit of salad bars in schools extends beyond the healthy foods consumed during the breakfast or lunch hour. Increased daily access to a variety of fruits and vegetables provides a personal experience about choices that can shape behavior far beyond the school lunch line. Children learn to make decisions that carry over outside of school, providing a platform for a lifetime of healthy snack and meal choices.

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity has endorsed schools using salad bars and upgrading cafeteria equipment to support providing healthier foods to kids. In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine concluded that schools need to add as many as two servings of fruits and vegetables daily to meals in order to meet children's basic health requirements.

Many school districts are either unaware of the benefits salad bars can bring to their students, or have been unable to afford the basic equipment needed to adopt this strategy. The powerful health benefit that can come with a modern, food-safety compliant salad bar is too often blocked by the prohibitive capital cost in many school districts. Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools is creating the opportunity make change.

Offer versus Serve (OVS) is a system designed by USDA to decrease food waste and give students greater flexibility in choosing what [foods to] eat for school breakfast or lunch.

General OVS Requirements for Lunch:

• Students must take at least 3 of the 5 food items. This is the minimum under Federal program regulations.

• Students may take smaller portions of the declined food items.

What's for lunch?

For a meal that is reimbursable under USDA regulations, students must be offered a lunch that contains:

• 5 food items...

• from the 4 food components...

• in at least the minimum serving sizes for the appropriate age/grade group

The 5 food items at lunch include:

1. Meat/Meat Alternate

2. Grains/Breads

3. Vegetables - two or more servings of different kinds of vegetables and/or fruits

4. Fruits - two or more servings of different kinds of vegetables and/or fruits

5. Milk

The 4 food components at lunch are:

1. Meat/Meat Alternate

2. Vegetables/Fruits

3. Grains/Breads

4. Milk

What's for breakfast?

• 4 food items;

• from 3 or 4 components;

• in at least the minimum serving size for the appropriate age/grade group.

The 4 food components for breakfast are:

1. Meat/Meat Alternative = meat, poultry, fish, cheese, nuts, nut butters, eggs, dry beans, yogurt, and alternative protein products.

2. Grains/Breads = bread, tortillas, bagels, biscuits, muffins, and many more products made from enriched or whole-grain meal or flour, plus enriched or fortified cereals.

3. Vegetable/Fruit = fruit or vegetable in any form or full-strength juice.

4. Milk = fluid, served as a beverage or on cereal or both.


• Students can make food selections, and will more likely eat what they select.

• Students may refuse any food item.

• Students may take any combination.

• Combination foods count as more than 1 food item.

• Parents and other adults teach kids -- by example -- to make healthful choices.

• We encourage students to select all foods offered.

• Policy for extra portions at extra cost is unaffected by OVS.

The District hopes this gives you a clearer idea of what the district is trying to do to help with some of the health concerns in your community. We as a district want to do our part in empowering the children of the Red Lake Community to make good healthy choices.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me @ 679-3353 Ext. 1158.


Josh Hovde

Food Service Coordinator

Red Lake Schools


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