S.F.’s schools reach their salad days

Marina Middle School seventh-grader Patrick Huang said he likes eating the vegetables that come with his school lunch now that they’re not cooked.

“The other ones, I don’t really like them, they’re watery,” the 11-year-old said while munching on broccoli florets drizzled with French dressing.

Marina was one of three schools in the San Francisco Unified School District given a salad bar last year as part of a pilot project. Balboa High School and Miraloma Elementary were also provided with salad carts to hold mixed greens and assorted crunchy vegetables.

The program will be expanded this year to another 25 schools, mostly middle schools and high schools — funded by a $500,000 grant from the Mayor’s Office and The City’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families. Half of the funding is one-time support for the equipment and infrastructure; the other half is an annual contribution to pay for the vegetables.

“Better nutrition has been linked with higher academic achievement, so a salad bar sets our students up for performing better in school,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

The salad bar will come with the schools’ daily hot lunch choice at no extra cost. Low-income students get the meal for free due to state and federal subsidies. Other students pay $2.

So far, the vegetable choices have been mostly limited to the standards: broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, according to the principals at the pilot schools — but SFUSD parent Dana Woldow, chair of the district’s Student Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee, promises the salad bars will include “different vegetables as they come into season.”

Erica Martinez, a seventh-grader at Marina, said the salad bar option is “better than the junk food, like the pizza [at the school].” The 12-year-old said many of her peers also choose the salad to prevent weight gain.

The raw veggies are the latest effort to improve the nutritional offerings at The City’s public schools. In 2003, the Board of Education banned soda and junk food from all district cafeterias and vending machines. The district has also developed nutritional standards that are stricter than the federal government’s, according to Woldow.

Principals at all three schools — each serving different age levels — said the salad bars have been popular.

“The kids asked for it,” said Patricia Gray, principal at Balboa High School, which has seen participation in the lunch meal program increase 26 percent since the salad bar was added.

Healthier lunches

Some of the SFUSD secondary schools that will open salad bars this fall:

» Excelsior Middle School/June Jordan School for Equity (shared campus)

» Francisco Middle School

» Horace Mann Middle School

» International Studies Academy High School

» James Lick Middle School

» John O’Connell High School

» Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School

» Newcomer High School

» School of the Arts/Academy of Arts and Sciences high schools (shared campus)

» Thurgood Marshall High School

» Visitacion Valley Middle School

» Wallenberg High School

beslinger@examiner.com

Each day until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, The Examiner lays odds on local figures beating Mayor Gavin Newsom. Check out our exclusive blog: San Francisco's Next Mayor?

businessLocalScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

An instructor at Sava Pool teaches children drowning prevention techniques. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Indoor city pools reopen for lap swimming and safety classes

Two of San Francisco’s indoor city pools reopened Tuesday, marking another step… Continue reading

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Most Read