Success Stories

All You Can Eat Fruits and Veggies in Maryland

Posted on 03/21/2011

Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland are giving the “All You Can Eat” buffet a healthy makeover. Each morning, the cafeteria staff chops and preps produce so students entering the cafeteria line are greeted with a rainbow of fruits and veggies. Students are encouraged to select unlimited servings of these healthy options.

In addition to the daily assortment of fresh pears, apples and oranges, students can chose from seasonal fruits including peaches, apricots, kiwi and pineapple. Vegetables range from broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber coins to a Romaine salad blend and a daily steamed vegetable selection.

Much of the produce is locally grown, since Anne Arundel’s school nutrition program requires its distributer to purchase local foods when available.

Cafeteria staff work hard to get kids excited about these healthy choices. The school nutrition department has partnered with the local department of health and PTAs to host frequent fruit and vegetable taste test parties for families. Parents who attended the recent mango and papaya party were delighted to see their kids trying new foods!

5 Comments - View or Leave a Reply

  • Susan March 29th, 2011 1:39 pm

    this is awesome

  • brooke March 29th, 2011 2:13 pm

    i really like this idea.

  • Linda March 30th, 2011 3:07 pm

    This is a great idea, but how do you control that the students do not take more than they are going to eat? Do you end up with a lot of waste? What about them actually taking enough so it can count as a component for the National School Lunch program? I also really like the idea of you offering fruit and vegetable taste test parties for the families that is a great idea. What a great way to get kids and families to try things they might of never had before.

  • Jodi Risse, Supervisor of Food & Nutrition Services in AACPS April 7th, 2011 4:17 pm

    Unlimited fruits and vegetables have truly made a difference to the students we serve. We allow self-service of these food items, knowing students may serve themselves more than a 1/2 cup portion. Our cashiers continue to encourage consumption, while educating the students on the importance of portion size if they see students are taking too much. It is also the responsibility of the cashier to verify that a full component is taken in the event the fruit and vegetable component is less than the desired amount. Plate waste is not a concern. In fact, we are seeing more students taking and consuming the fruits and vegetables we offer.

  • Anna Aho January 13th, 2012 4:41 am

    I think that this is a good idea. Lunch ladies at our school tell us to eat our veggies and “you need fruit.” I don’t want an over ripe banana or a bruised apple. I also don’t want some slimy green goop that they call spinach. If our school had a fruit bar everyone would enjoy it, but we don’t. This website makes it sound like school lunches are amazing. At Ira F. Simmons Middle School in Hoover, Alabama, we would LOVE a fruit bar. Or food that’s edible. Or even cheese sticks that aren’t “mozzarella cheese and cheese substitute” (I read that off the box!).

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