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FP12 Montana Students Select More Vegetables and Fruits at School Lunch Using Smarter Lunchrooms Strategies

Stenberg, Molly, Shanks, Carmen Byker, Bark, Katie
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.7 pp. S29
beans, data collection, fruits, lunch, peas, photographs, raw fruit, recipes, salads, school lunch, schools, sensory evaluation, students, surveys, vegetables, Montana
Evaluate the impact of Smarter Lunchrooms strategies on student selection of vegetable subgroups and fruit in Montana Schools. Secondary objectives include student participation in the lunch program, collaboration with key partners, and menu variety.10 Montana schools participated in the Smarter Lunchrooms intervention during the 2017-2018 school year. Schools were trained to select and implement at least three strategies from the Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard, with at least one focusing on fruits or vegetables; engage students in the process; include taste testing; and use new recipes to increase menu variety. Schools followed the Four Step Path to Building a Smarter Lunchroom (Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, Cornell University) to select and implement strategies: Spot, Plan, Do, and Prove.The project was evaluated by collecting data at pre and post intervention within 10 schools: average daily participation rates, Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard, production records, weights (ounces) of fruit and vegetables available and amounts selected, photographs, and a survey.Across the 10 participating schools, the project resulted in a significant increase in student's selection of fruits and the following vegetable subgroups with the use of Smarter Lunchrooms strategies: red/orange, dark green, and peas/beans/legume vegetables. Effective strategies included offering whole fresh fruit in an eye-appealing bowl or display; enhancing the appeal of the salad bar; incorporating colorful signage; and purposefully offering more vegetable choices. Post survey results of participating schools indicated 50% led taste tests; 60% stated that the project helped increase collaboration with key partners; 60% tried new vegetable recipes, and 100% of the schools indicated their willingness to continue using Smarter Lunchrooms techniques. This study implies that schools can nudge students to make healthier choices through simple behavioral economics techniques and purposeful menu planning.2016