Healthy foods sell at Iowa schools' sporting events

Muscatine High School swapped nachos and burgers for carrots and pickles and increased sales.

MUSCATINE, Iowa—When thinking about typical fare at a baseball or football game, things that come to mind tend to be hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, and nachos. Carrots, pickles, and trail mix would never be on such a traditional menu, right? Although that’s mostly the case, researchers from the University of Iowa felt that making those changes to concession stand menus could help people eat healthier, without losing important revenue. They were right.

The researchers approached the boosters club at Muscatine High School in the fall of 2008. They asked the club, whose sole responsibility is to raise money for the school’s sports teams and extracurricular clubs, to begin selling healthier food at concession stands during the teams’ games. At the time, the club, called the Muskie Boosters, raised an annual average of $90,000, and including healthier food on menus was considered a huge risk. “I don’t think, without [revenue from] booster clubs, especially with how schools are cutting things, how they’d be able to do it,” said Kate Hansen, a former president of the Boosters, in a statement.