Amid all the wrangling about the challenges school districts face in implementing new school nutrition standards, there is one point of clarity about salad bars.

According to a recent survey of school districts with salad bars from the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign, most have more students eating school meals.

Of 357 school districts polled across the U.S., 57% reported increased participation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a blog post about the survey, said 78% of districts reported purchasing more fruits and vegetables. More than 3,400 salad bars have been donated to more than 1,000 school districts across the country since the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative launched in 2010.

And salad bars are increasingly popular, reports a new School Nutrition Association survey, “State of School Nutrition 2014.” The group reported 63% of school districts polled offer salad or produce bars, with 69% of districts offering pre-packaged salads.

There is no doubt that many schools have found success with salad bars, giving students more choices and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

We don’t need our lawmakers to create loopholes to allow schools the chance to opt out of updated nutrition standards.

Instead, members of Congress and school nutrition advocates need to work in partnership with the produce industry to increase the use of salad bars as a winning strategy to help students eat a healthy diet and increase the quality of school lunches.

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