Fresh Food Buffets

What is a Fresh Food Buffet?

As a healthy alternative to a typical hot school lunch, a Fresh Food Buffet offers an array of delicious fresh vegetables, fruits, grain products and protein foods. A Fresh Food Buffet typically offers:

  • 5 vegetable choices (eg. broccoli, carrots, cucumber, celery, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes)
  • 3 fruit choices (eg. apples, oranges, pineapple, grapes, melons)
  • 2 grain product options (eg. tortillas, whole grain buns, bannock, pitas)
  • 3 protein choices (eg. milk, seeds, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, bean salad)

At the Fresh Food Buffet, children are given the opportunity to serve themselves. This allows them to make healthy choices by selecting what they wish to eat and how much lunch is right for them.  

Why a Fresh Food Buffet?

  • Fun – this is a great time for children to interact outside the classroom
  • Novelty – by trying a variety of foods, kids might discover a new favourite
  • Health – exposure to a variety of new and different healthy foods counters the influence of fast foods
  • Colour – offering foods of all different colours allows students to make a rainbow on their plate
  • Role modeling – creating this healthy food environment encourages kids to make healthy choices 
  • Empowerment - Presenting this lunch in a kid friendly set-up gives students the freedom to make their own food choices

What have kids said about the Fresh Food Buffets?

  • “I wish we could have this for lunch every day!”
  • “I like that I got to pick what I wanted from all of the food”
  • “My favorite was ALL OF IT!!  I filled my pita with almost everything you had there.  It was great.”
  • “It had some new food I never tried before”
  • “I was looking forward to the Fresh Food Buffet for weeks. Who knew health could be tasty!  It was awesome because fruit and veggies rock!”

What have teachers said about the Fresh Food Buffets?

  • “The students seemed calmer [after the salad bar lunch compared to other hot lunch days]”
  • “Students were happy and satisfied”
  • “It was well organized and students got to make choices”
  • “[The students] got a chance to eat things they have not experienced”
  • “Proves that students enjoy eating vegetables”
  • “Students weren’t as hungry in the afternoon [after the salad bar lunch]”

Children at the salad bar.2.jpg

How do Fresh Food Buffets work?

If you are new to Fresh Food Buffets, you can contact CHEP’s Children's Nutrition Coordinator for assistance. He will help you plan what foods to choose, how much food you will need to order, how many volunteers you will need, as well as any other questions you may have.

Contact Joshua at (306) 655-4575 extension 224 or email

As soon as you choose a date for the lunch, you will want to call your School Board Resource Centre to book the Fresh Food Buffet equipment kit.  

  • Saskatoon Public School Division – phone (306) 683-8329
  • Saskatoon Catholic Schools – phone (306) 659-2003

We encourage schools to talk about nutrition with students a few days before the Fresh Food Buffet. A Fresh Food Buffet education kit with lesson plans and activities for students in grades K – 8 is available to schools. Schools can borrow this kit by phoning your School Board resource centre. 

On the arranged day, a group of teachers, staff, parents and/or students prepare fresh vegetables, fruit, grains, milk and alternatives and meat alternatives at the school.  When the buffet is set up, students are invited to serve themselves and enjoy the food.

What is in the Fresh Food Buffet Equipment Kit?

All of the cutting boards, knives, containers and tongs you will need to host a Fresh Food Buffet lunch for 200-250 kids.

Additional Resources