Plumas Lake Elementary School District

Team Nutrition: Smarter Lunchrooms

The Smarter Lunchroom Movement utilizes principles of behavioral economics to make small, low or no-cost environmental changes in school lunctooms to improve the selection of healthful foods by students.

PLESD and the Team Nutrition: Smarter Lunchrooms Movement

Hey families and friends!
 
This grant project has been an amazing ride.  Let me tell you, it was off to a rocky start.  I wasn't sure we were ready for the project.  So much so that I even considered backing out.  Whew, am I glad we hung in there!
 
At the start of this project, we had the following goals:
- Increase the selection of non-flavored milk by students by 10%
- Increase the consumption of all milk by 5%
- Increase overall student participation in the breakfast and lunch program by 5% each
- Increase Nutrition Education in the classroom
- Enhance the overall experience in the cafeteria
 
To meet these goals, we used all sorts of tools and resources.  Through the project, our goals changed and evolved with us.  We learned so much about our own program, and about our students.
 
I hope you'll enjoy the journey as much as we have, and hope your students enjoy the changes and innovations we're bringing to school meals.
 
Kindly,
April Mackill
Nutrition Services Manager
PLESD
 

PLESD Milk Plate Waste Study

The PLESD Milk Plate Waste study was a 10 week longitudinal study at Cobblestone and Riverside.
 
To avoid any changes to student's normal behaviors, we opted to take data over a longer time period and informed elementary students we were collecting milk cartons for recycling.  The students at Riverside Meadows were told we were measuring the average milk consumption, and were given key nutritional information about milk.
 
Our hypothesis included an average of 50-60% of milk was being wasted.  This was based on the weight of the trash bags and observations during lunch.
 
Our hypothesis also focused on the number of meals that did not include milk.  Based on meal production records (a tool used by all school kitchens to track menu items and food preparation), we anticipated approximately 75% of meals included milk.
 
We found that 85% of meals included milk, and 79% of the milk served was consumed!  This is a waste rate of about 21%, which is less than half what we hypothesized.

Nutrition Education In The Classroom

Nutrition Education can happen anywhere.  So why not add some into our classrooms?
 
This year, we visited every TK and Kindergarten classroom at Cobblestone Elementary School to talk about MyPlate, the 5 food groups, and how milk helps your body grow and stay healthy.
 
Nutrition education in the classroom involved everyone's favorite hands on learning activity - taste testing!

Serving Line Changes

The Serving Line is the area our students enter to pick up their lunch meals.  At PLESD schools, the serving line is a long room with two doors that sits between the multi-purpose room and the kitchen.
 
We added flip chart menu signs to the wall next to the door students use to enter the serving line.  These menus showed students the multiple choices of entree, and the bundled vegetable or fruit for the day.
 
All our entree and side dish options got new labels, too.  We purchased a large order of label tags to identify the different foods available to students each day.  These label tags can quickly and easily be changed as food items change.
 
Milk was such a large focus for this project.  Our milk coolers were worn out and unexciting.  We jazzed up the cooler at Cobblestone with some amazing magnetic milk cooler clings from the Dairy Council of California.  At Riverside, we listened to the students preferences and opted to replace our worn out industrial milk cooler with a spiffy vertical reach in cooler.  It's lovely, and really shines a light on our milk.  We also changed the order the milk is placed in the coolers.  Students are more likely to select Wonderful White milk if it is placed in front of Charming Chocolate milk.
 
We couldn't ignore the most important factors - we all eat with our eyes!  Our frontline team of Kitchen Leaders and Food Service employees underwent training to package and display foods in easy-to-grab, appealing arrangements.  
This project is made possible by a Team Nutrition: Smarter Lunchroom Movement grant.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)       mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)       fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)       email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.