A study by Chartwells and Cornell shows three ways to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables among school children.
The final phase of nutrition regulations in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will take effect this July, requiring school districts to offer more whole grains, fruits and vegetables both in school meals and outside the meal program. To better understand the affects of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, Chartwells School Dining Services partnered with the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (B.E.N. Center) on a research program. Here are three key findings.
- Serving in Multiple Locations: Hot vegetables were selected 27 percent more and cold vegetables were selected 48 percent more when offered in multiple locations. In addition, fruit offered in more than one location resulted in reducing fresh fruit waste.
- Naming Vegetables: Adding fun descriptors like "Lean Mean Green Beans" and "Bring It On Broccoli" increased overall vegetable consumption by 18 percent, driven by a 50 percent increase in consumption of salad and cold vegetables specifically.
- Nutrition Labels: Displaying simple nutrition information for vegetables, including calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate content, resulted in a 30 percent decrease in overall vegetable waste, which translated to a 35 percent increase in vegetable consumption among students who selected vegetables.
These steps are also part of Chartwells School Dining Services' Smarter Lunchroom Movement, which uses evidence-based, low-to-no-cost techniques to help schools improve how and what their students eat.