The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) helps schools introduce children to fresh fruits and vegetables that they may have never tried. Repeated exposure to fruits and vegetables along with positive reinforcement are keys to helping students build lifelong healthy eating habits. The following resources will help you plan your FFVP expenses wisely and develop creative menus.
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Planning Menus for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
The program should be served from the beginning of the school year until the end of the school year. For most participating schools, this means that the program is intended to operate from September through May. All participating schools are advised to begin service no later than the first full week back to school. FFVP snacks must be offered to students at least two days per week, but many schools in Wisconsin choose to serve three to five days per week. The program must be offered during the school day but cannot be offered during breakfast, lunch, or after school. FFVP cannot be served prior to the start of the school year or during summer school.
When planning FFVP menus, remember that the goal is to offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in their natural state. There is no required portion size. Try “sample sizes” to introduce new items and then adjust your ordering as needed. To the extent possible, you should not limit the choices you offer. Find innovative and fun ways to encourage your students to sample different foods.
Fruits and vegetables should be appealing and easy to grab. If necessary, cut produce items to make them easier to eat and reduce mess for younger children. Schools can also choose to purchase pre-cut or value-added fresh fruits and vegetables that have no additives.
Farm to School efforts aim to connect local farms with schools to serve locally produced foods to students, provide unique nutrition education opportunities, and improve Wisconsin's economy by developing new markets for farmers. These activities include everything from procuring one or more local items for FFVP and other child nutrition programs to school gardens, local food tastings, and more! Visit the School Nutrition Team’s Farm to School webpage to learn more. Other resources can be accessed through REAP Food Group and the National Farm to School Network.