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School Food Debate Must Include Ways to Decrease Food Waste

Released: 2-Jun-2014 11:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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While congress and the School Nutrition Association debate the cost of new school lunch guidelines, David Just and Brian Wansink (Co-Directors of Cornell University’s Smarter Lunchroom Movement) say waste of healthy foods is too high and schools much find the most effective way to get kids to eat a better diet.

For more information on Cornell’s Smarter Lunchrooms Movement: http://smarterlunchrooms.org

David Just: Fruit and veggie wastes too high

“The new guidelines have been great at getting schools to offer better quality lunches, and especially in increasing the offering of fruit and vegetables. While there are certainly some real concerns with the cost of the program, the biggest concerns are with waste.

“We have dealt with availability of fruits and vegetables, now we need to motivate kids to eat them. Our research points the way. For example, moving fruit so it is visible and near the cash register can increase consumption by more than 100 percent. There are dozens of simple changes like this that can be implemented in less than 5 minutes at no monetary cost that when used together cut fruit and vegetable waste in half.”

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Brian Wansink: Make healthy foods more convenient, attractive

“It’s not nutrition until it is eaten.

“Schools that have successfully adopted these guidelines have done more than just put the food out. Successful schools have used smarter lunchroom techniques such as giving the new foods an edge by giving them descriptive names, and making the fruits, vegetables and milk more convenient, visible and presenting them in an appealing way.

“When schools made these healthy foods more convenient, attractive, and normal, our research shows more kids eat lunches, and there is no increase in fruits and vegetables waste. This is just a smarter way to operate a school lunchroom no matter which policy is in place.”

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