Involving Middle School Students in Smarter Lunchroom Design

Natalie Tauzin RD, MPH  and Kai Swan discuss how student and staff input and engagement activities were used to promote fruits and vegetables in the school cafeteria though implementation of a Smarter Lunchrooms Makeover.  They also share struggles, successes and lessons learned regarding the practical application of the Smarter Lunchroom concepts in a real-world setting.    

Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) in Washington State partnered with Spokane Public Schools, graduate students (University of Washington, University of Idaho and WSU) and Washington State University to conduct a Smarter Lunchroom make-over starting in January 2013.  The pilot is scheduled to end in May 2014.  The initial steps of the program included forming a stakeholder group, creating a work plan, and conducting a baseline assessment.  

Resources and Tools for Download: 

Best Practice Brief Matrix and Goals

A simple tool to use with cafeteria staff to assess current Smarter Lunchroom Design practices and set goals for increasing fruit, vegetable, white milk and targeted entrée consumption.

Chef for the Day Recipe and Evaluation Forms

A form for student “Chef of the Day” to record recipe ingredients, amounts and preparation.  Also includes student survey for evaluating appearance, aroma, taste and texture of recipe.

Cues for Positive Communication

Examples for cafeteria staff of when to use cues, why say it and example sayings.  Includes space for staff to write down 3 things they plan to do to use positive communication with students.

Lynn Tips 9-19 Presentation

A list of tips from Lynn, the Shaw Middle School food service manager.

Shaw Focus Group Taste Testing Questions

Form for collecting data from student regarding appearance, aroma, taste and texture of recipe.  Also asks about what they would change to make look and taste better and suggestions for names to get other students to try the recipe.

Shaw Middle School Taste Testing

Brief 4 question survey for asking students how much they like the recipe, how likely they are to try again, what they liked and what they did not like.

Shaw Middle School Smarter Lunchroom Design Focus Group

Focus group script for better understanding how middle school students choose fruit and vegetables and why they eat or don’t eat them. 

Shaw School Wide Attitude Survey

Results of pre-implementation survey of students.

Shaw Smarter Lunchroom Survey Pre-Survey 4-26-13

Brief 5 item questionnaire for students asking about what they think will help increase students choosing and eating fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria.

Shaw Taste Test 1 Report

Report of salad taste test done with students. Includes methods, results, discussion and conclusions.

Shaw Workplan 

Goals and objectives of Shaw pilot project and work plan including activities, time-frames, lead persons/partners and products.

Smarter Lunchroom Design Waste Study Form

Procedure, form and calculations for total ounces fruits/vegetables consumed per child. 

Student Focus Group Waiver Form

Have sheet “opt out” form sent home to parents for student participation in focus group.