Eat your veggies: A chef-prepared, family style school lunch increases vegetable liking and consumption in elementary school students

Debra A. Zellner, Jennifer L. Cobuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

School lunches provide an opportunity to introduce children to healthy foods in ways that might result in both short- and long-term healthier eating. This study compared vegetable consumption and liking for vegetables in 8–10 year old children at two schools, one with a traditional lunch service (61–84 students in School B) and the other (24–26 students in School A) which devoted one day each week to the “Eatiquette Program”, which incorporates chef-prepared food, non-disposable plates and cutlery, and family style service including an adult at each table. Consumption of target vegetables (cauliflower and sweet potato “fries”) was recorded in the lunchroom at the beginning and end of the school year, and a subset of children provided rankings and ratings of liking for those and six other vegetables in separate assessments at those times. Consumption of sweet potato fries was higher in children in the Eatiquette lunch than in the children at the control school at the beginning of the year. Although initial consumption of the cauliflower was not significantly higher in the Eatiquette lunch than in the control school, consumption increased from the beginning to the end of the school year for children eating the Eatiquette lunch. In addition liking for and ranking of the cauliflower increased from the beginning to the end of the year for the children in the Eatiquette (n = 6) program but not for those eating the traditional lunch (n = 22). The Eatiquette program increased consumption of and liking for vegetables. Aspects of the Eatiquette program including food palatability and the presence of an adult at each table may be responsible for these increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Volume55
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Consumption
  • Healthy eating
  • Liking
  • Mere exposure
  • Neophobia
  • School lunch
  • Vegetable

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