An Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Improve Child Diet Quality and Reduce Wasted Food in School Nutrition Programs

Project Overview

Over 29,000 U.S. schools have implemented Smarter Lunchroom strategies, which aim to reduce food waste and encourage students to increase their consumption of vegetables and healthy foods. Recent critiques have questioned whether the program’s effects on consumer behavior are meaningful or overstated. This project will implement and evaluate Smarter Lunchrooms interventions at two schools – Stark County Elementary School and Bethel Grade School District 82 – in order to develop a simulation tool that identifies effective Smarter Lunchroom techniques and addresses food waste concerns.

Research Team

  • Principal Investigator: Melissa Pflugh Prescott, Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Co-Principal Investigators: Kristin Bogdonas, Nutrition and Wellness Extension Educator; Brenna Ellison, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics; Ashley Hoffman, SNAP-Ed Extension Educator