Smarter lunchrooms lead kids to eat more salad

April 27, 2010

Providing healthier food choices for our nation's schoolchildren is a hot-button issue in Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. And a team of researchers from Cornell University have recently identified one simple solution to help schools serve more fresh vegetables and salad items.

Laura Smith, a researcher at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, presented the findings of the study "Convenience Drives Choice in School Lunchrooms" at this week's Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, Calif.

In a year-long study in an upstate New York middle school, researchers examined the effect of moving the bar to a more prominent location in the cafeteria. Results show that sales of certain salad bar items increased by 250-300%.

"It wasn't a big move," Smith explained. "From its original location against a wall, we moved the salad bar out about four feet, in front of the cash registers."

"By the end of the year, this even led to 6% more kids eating school lunches," Smith said. "It's basic behavioral economics — we made it easier for them to make the right choice."

Smith and her colleagues, Professor Brian Wansink and Professor David Just, lead the Smarter Lunchroom Initiative. The initiative focuses on low-cost and no-cost changes that can be made in lunchrooms to subtly guide smarter choices.

Explore further: Children's packed lunches: Are they even worse than Turkey Twizzlers?

Related Stories

Parents can learn to raise vegetable lovers

May 15, 2007

Teaching children that vegetables are tasty as well as good for them can be a true parenting challenge. But by following a few simple tips, parents can increase the chances that their kids develop a taste for healthy, nutritious ...

Will a carrot or a stick prompt purchase of more carrots?

December 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Would a so-called Twinkie tax help curb obesity rates? Should shoppers who buy healthy goods earn rebates? A new study will seek to unravel the likely implications of legislative attempts to promote healthy ...

New study: The kitchen-counter diet

April 26, 2010

Can eating less be as simple as leaving serving dishes on the stove and off the table? According to a team of researchers from Cornell University, it can.

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.