Published: October 2021

Publisher: Healthy Eating Research

Authors: Cohen J, Hecht A, Schwartz M

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The aim of this research brief is to highlight and summarize the evidence of promising, low-maintenance, and low-cost strategies that can be implemented by school districts to increase the consumption of healthy school meals. All of these strategies have been associated with meaningful improvements in meal consumption and require minimal funding and technical support, making them realistic for schools to implement. The information in this brief is drawn from “Strategies to Improve School Meal Consumption: A Systematic Review,” published in Nutrients. The review examined publications from the start of the literature to May 2021 on modifiable factors associated with school meal consumption. The approaches examined in this body of research include changes at the school meal level (choices, food preparation, and taste tests); cafeteria environment level (choice architecture, nutrition education, school lunch duration, and recess before lunch); and policy level (local, state, and federal policies). The findings from this brief can be used to inform the development of policies and practices that support healthy eating environments in schools.

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