Earlier this week, Austin ISD (AISD) and Whole Kids Foundation celebrated “Take Your Parents to Lunch Day” at Sánchez Elementary School with the launch of a new, made-to-order salad bar.

The event is part of a healthy eating initiative currently underway within AISD, adding made-to-order salad bars to each of the 84 elementary schools in the district. The project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2017.

“The salad bar lets us offer a third fresh, healthy entrée option to our students,” says Anneliese Tanner, AISD Food Service Director. “It’s helping us teach our students to make vegetables the center of their plate.” Tanner also says that salad bars expand the options for students with allergies or special dietary needs.

The made-to-order salad bars are sponsored, in part, through a $50,000 grant from Whole Kids Foundation. Salad bars in Austin elementary schools will feature produce options from local suppliers such as Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

“The chance to work with our hometown school district is amazing,” says Nona Evans, Executive Director of Whole Kids Foundation. “We work with thousands of schools and districts around the country, in the U.K. and Canada. Where Austin is headed is something that should make us all proud.” Evans also points out that CDC data indicates kids with access to a school salad bar consume three times more fruits and vegetables.

“This is bound to make a long term impact on the eating habits of our children,” says Azucena Garcia, Principal at Sánchez Elementary.

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