By Lori Lyn Lirio
SALAD bars are now available in middle and high school canteen to promote health via the consumption of veggies among teenagers in Saipan.
This was learned after the Commonwealth of northern Mariana Islands Public School System-Food and Nutrition Service said it started putting up salad bars in middle and high schools in Saipan.
PSS nutritionist and registered dietitian Kaisa Anderson said they started serving two entrée of salad in Kagman High School, Saipan Southern High School, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, Chacha Ocean View Middle School, Dandan Middle School and Tanapag Middle School since February.
She said they will start putting up salad bar in Marianas High School next school when they open their new cafeteria.
“It was very popular,” Anderson said of the students’ reception to the new addition to the menu.
For the next school year, salad will be served twice a week. There will be variety of vegetables that students can create their own salad.
“We recently had plans on having three entrees on salad bars. It turns out that it is a lot of work for the vendors…we kept it to two options two times a week,” Anderson said.
According to Anderson, the FNS is currently undertaking nutrition education program which promotes fruits and vegetables.
“They have been very successful.”
They started the program from head start to kinder and next school year, they will include elementary students up to second grade.
“Every single week they get exposed to fruits and vegetable featured of the month. Our teachers have given us great feedback and we are doing what we can to educate the children and their parents about why local fruits and vegetables good for them,” Anderson said.
She said they started the nutrition education to young kids “so they can develop a better eating habit. When they get older they have been exposed and they are used to have fruits and vegetables on their diet.”
She said the menus [including health food] started to change in the last four years.
“It is new for the kids to have fruits and vegetables in their breakfast and lunch. We need to be patient for them to learn and develop a taste for it,” she added.
(Related reading: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2018/07/05/qc-releases-healthy-menu-for-schools/)