The Salad Bar Comes To The Caf

Uma Ramiah Photo Even a tough pro linebacker wishes he had veggies in the cafeteria when he was a kid.

So New England Patriots Defensive Lineman Ron Brace told kids at the unveiling Thursday of a new salad bar at the Mauro-Sheridan Science, Technology and Communications School

Brace flanked U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Executive Director of Food Services for New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) Chef Timothy Cipriano as they spoke to students in the cafeteria about the importance of eating well.

“I have to credit Chef Tim with focusing in on nutrition,” DeLauro said, “how important food is, what kinds of food you eat, and what does it mean for your ability to think, your ability to grow, and to be strong and healthy.”

Under a program called Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools!, which started in 2008 as an initiative to place at least 6,000 salad bars in U.S. schools over the next three years, NHPS will receive two salad bars—one at Mauro-Sheridan and the other at Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School.  Chef Tim—who took charge of New Haven’s school food in 2008 and is working to change lunch options, provide more fresh and local food and encourage school gardens—said he won’t be satisfied with that.

“I’ll keep asking for more,” he said. “I want to get salad bars into all of our schools.”

The salad bar program sprang out of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. It’s sponsored by grants from NatureSeal and the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation. The effort follows the recent passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which reauthorized and increased funding for child nutrition programs. DeLauro was a vocal advocate of the bill.

“Have you had lunch yet?” DeLauro asked the students gathered in the cafeteria, waiting to eat. That elicited a unanimous “no” from the young audience.

“You know, we should learn, you never come between people and their food,” she said.

Before students lined up at the salad bar (stocked with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber salad, bean and corn salad, carrots, tomatoes and cauliflower), they heard from a little speech from a football player.

“I’m pretty jealous,” said Brace. “When I was in school I wasn’t able to have a salad bar like this one.”

He wasn’t brought up knowing much about health, he said. But as he grew up, he figured out how important nutrition is.

“Eating healthy is vital to you both physically and mentally,” he said. In a business like his, he told the students, it’s not about the toughest guy.

“It’s about the guy who takes care of himself.”

Brace, who visited the school as part of a partner program called Fuel Up to Play 60, told students to stay away from greasy cheeseburgers and candy.

So for at least one day, they did. For lunch on Thursday: Baked chicken, baked sweet potatoes, a roll and of course, a salad.



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posted by: Vegetable Nutrition Table on February 4, 2011  8:21am

The costs for upgrading the nutritional value of the choices available at school lunches are not to be taken lightly, but the cost for not educating school children of where food comes from and what it looks like before manufacturing and processing is well worth it!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 4, 2011  9:10am

Beware if it is not organic.

posted by: diver119 on February 4, 2011  9:33am

Go Patriots

posted by: streever on February 4, 2011  11:21am

Brace is to be commended for taking part in this.

I’m glad the school went with a better role model than Vick “I got lucky and have a nationwide PR campaign as my parole terms” this time.

This is a great program, and I’m glad to see the menu that Mr. Cipriano prepared is so healthy.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on February 4, 2011  1:43pm

This article made me hungry; wish I had some sweet potatoes right now.

Great news; and I hope (especially at Barnard!) that they compost the inevitable leftovers.

posted by: lance on February 4, 2011  1:47pm

why no report on the costs of this program?  and once the “grant” runs out, who foots the bill?  i find it a little disheartening that one group of kids whose parents pay significantly less taxes if any at all get free food while parents of other school districts who pay significantly higher taxes have to shell out for their kid’s lunches.  And as far as the patriots player being jealous, he should be.  the government is forcing him to divert money away from his family to foot the bill for total strangers.

posted by: Show You Right! on February 4, 2011  4:04pm

All school children need this how do you create a program as if you don’t know the benefits to it. We hustle backwards when it comes to making sure we all especially our children have the best options minus the interest of whom sponsors it, it is not good enough and unsustainable to program every thing that should already be done in our community.

posted by: streever on February 7, 2011  10:21pm

Lance I hate to break it to you (for the third time) but the poor pay a higher percentage of tax than the rich do in Connecticut. It is a literal fact: that is the reality when they actually just take the math and put it on a sheet in front of you.