By making a few changes in a school lunchroom, researchers have found that students can make healthier food choices if these foods are conveniently and attractively displayed:
In the lunchroom, changes were implemented to improve the convenience and attractiveness of fruits and vegetables (e.g., fresh fruit next to the cash register in nice bowls or tiered stands) and make the selection of fruits and vegetables seem standard through verbal cues from cafeteria staff (e.g., “Would you like to try an apple?”). The smarter lunchroom makeover took no more than 3 hours in one afternoon and cost less than $50 to implement.
Appearing in the Journal of Pediatrics, the results are impressive:
After the smarter lunchroom makeover, students were 13% more likely to take fruits and 23% more likely to take vegetables. Actual fruit consumption increased by 18% and vegetable consumption increased by 25%; students were also more likely to eat the whole serving of fruit or vegetables (16% and 10%, respectively).
The study’s author explains why this is important:
“This not only preserves choice, but has the potential to lead children to develop lifelong habits of selecting and consuming healthier foods even when confronted with less healthy options.”
Read Journal of Pediatrics press release here.