CNIC: Quick-and-easy changes to the school lunchroom

Jan. 15—At the School Nutrition Association’s Child Nutrition Industry Conference in Orlando, Fla., Dr. Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab, shared some simple tips to increase student purchases of healthy items.

The first tip is to make items visible and appealing. For example, Wansink said to put fruit in a nice bowl in a well-lit area. He says in schools that have done this, purchases of fruits have increased as much as 100%.

The second tip is, because people decide sequentially what to put on their plates, if you put the healthy items at the front of the line, people will select more of those items.

The third tip is to name the items. For example, instead of bean burrito, use big bad bean burrito. Wansink suggested having students help in the naming process because they know what will resonate with other students.

Wansink also gave tips on how to get high school kids into the lunch line, which is often a struggle for foodservice directors. Wansink said if you advertise your daily specials outside of the cafeteria, on a bulletin or white board, all students will be able to see the offerings, which may persuade them to participate in the school lunch program in the future. He also said that, in some cases, forcing the students to walk through the serving area to get to the seating area in the cafeteria increased participation in the meal program.

Wansink urged directors to make changes immediately. “You don’t have to wait for a congressional session to make changes,” he said.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will soon switch over from magnetic strip-based student ID cards to chip-based ones, The Observer reports.

Along with being more secure, the new cards will allow students easier access to dining halls, enabling them to simply tap their cards on a reader to gain entrance. Students will also be able to add flex points and Domer Dollars—which can be used at eateries on and off campus—to their accounts via a mobile app.

The new cards are expected to be available by the time school begins next fall.

Read the full story...

FSD Resources