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Piecing Together the Nutrition Puzzle

Posted by itsupportgroup
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on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 in School Nutrition Blog


Let’s Fill in the Missing Pieces
Educating your students can feel a lot like putting together a puzzle; sometimes there are some missing pieces along the way. So how can you help students to connect the dots between nutrition, activity and achievement and close the gaps? By integrating foodservice and academics and encouraging your foodservice team to be a part of the solution. School meals help to fill in the critical nutrition gaps, which help students to succeed. In fact, the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs has found that subtle changes to café layouts, such as placing vegetables on the line before the entrée or offering fruit at the front of busy register lines substantially increases the selection of healthier choices¹. Your foodservice team can help to reinforce which options are healthiest and which components might be missing from their well-balanced meal. Together, we can help fill in the missing nutrition pieces for your students.


How does Whitsons help to fill in the nutrition gap? By following the recommendations of Cornell’s Smarter Lunchroom study, such as:


bullet   Placing nutritious foods, such as broccoli, at the front of the line before the entree, thereby increasing consumption by 5%.


bullet  Giving students a choice of more than one vegetable, making them more likely to select a vegetable than when only offered one option.

bullet   Putting whole fruit in a fruit bowl, rather than a stainless steel pan, doubling fruit consumption.


bullet   Moving the salad bar to a more prominent location in the cafeteria, increasing selection of certain salad bar items by 250-300%.


bullet   Listing the most nutrient-dense entrée first on the menu, and then placing it first on the serving line, to increase the selection of that item by 11%.


bullet   Creatively naming healthy entrees and vegetables with fun descriptors to encourage selection of those items by 40-70%.

We’ve got the facts—and the solutions.


To read more about the Cornell study and its smarter lunchroom movement, click here:


  1. Just, D. R. and Wansink, B. ( 2009). Smarter Lunchrooms: Using Behavioral Economics To Improve Meal Selection. Choices. 24 (3). Retrieved from http://smarterlunchrooms.org/sites/default/files/smarter_lunchrooms.pdf.




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