Campaign aims to put more salad bars in schools

SAN JOSE, Calif.

At one school in San Jose, kids are making healthy eating choices, even if they're picky eaters. Right in the center of the cafeteria at Baker Elementary is a salad bar. It may be sized for kids, but the selection of fruits and vegetables is as varied as what you'd find in a restaurant.

As part of the lunch program there, the youngsters must choose two items. "Sometimes healthy stuff is like yummy, but sometimes it's like just gross," Fifth-grader Tiffany Liu told ABC7 News. Tiffany can skip what she doesn't like because she has so many choices. On Friday, she had corn and fruit salad to go with her nachos.

It's estimated fewer than half the schools in Silicon Valley have salad bars. A state initiative to promote healthy eating has prompted non-profit groups, labor unions, and business to raise the money to install 100 new salad bars over the next three years.

"Well, if we just ate all the main foods, then we wouldn't have a lot of vitamins and stuff, so you can be like stronger and grow better," student Nico Hansen Feruch said, adding that he's an aspiring restaurant owner and wants to be really tall when he grows up.

However, kids can be, well, kids. "I don't like broccoli or brussel sprouts," fifth-grader Louis Sandoval said. Asked what happens when they get served at school, Louis said, "I just get other stuff."

Sometimes, the kids discover new foods they've never tried before such as kale, kiwi, and jicama. "We have one parent who was surprised that their child ate jicama. They never realized that the child liked jicama, so that's a great thing," said child nutrition consultant Rick Kessler.

And Tiffany discovered she likes tomatoes. It's truly heartwarming to see that young kids can make healthy eating choices. The goal is to get this spread throughout Silicon Valley.

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