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ERIC Number: EJ1082536
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: EISSN-1559-5676
Middle School Cafeteria Food Choice and Waste Prior to Implementation of Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Changes in the National School Lunch Program
Connors, Priscilla; Bednar, Carolyn
Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, v39 n2 Fall 2015
Purpose/Objectives: The study objective was to document choices of entrées, vegetables, fruits, grains/breads, and beverages on lunch trays and to determine the amount of each that was discarded after mealtime. Methods: A convenience sample of two urban middle school cafeterias in Texas participated in the study which took place in the 2010-2011 academic year. Digital photography was used to document student food choices on lunch trays as they exited the serving line and to record portions remaining prior to disposal. Ultimately 1,418 matched before and after tray images were uploaded to a digital library where three investigators used a standardized protocol to determine the amount of each meal component discarded. Results: Meat and cheese-based entrées were popular and produced very little waste. Few students chose dark green or red-orange vegetables or legumes as a lunch item. Over half of the students who selected mashed potatoes, corn, raw carrots, beans (pinto, ranch-style, or green), fresh apples, or rice discarded half or more of the food item. A third of trays photographed contained no fruit, and canned fruit was chosen more frequently than fresh. Bread/grains typically appeared as part of an entrée and were a moderate source of waste with the exception of white rice. Skim chocolate milk was heavily favored over 1% white. Application to Child Nutrition Professionals: Transitioning school meals to a greater reliance on vegetable subgroups other than starchy vegetables, increasing servings of fruits and vegetables, and adding more whole-grain rich foods is challenging. Investigation of food choice and waste prior to HHFK implementation provides background for analysis of post implementation success.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Food and Nutrition Service (USDA)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: 59500000088