Plumas Lake Elementary School District

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

PLESD and the Team Nutrition: Smarter Lunchrooms Movementtitle

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.
We 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.
Mary DeLong
Nutrition Services Manager
PLESD Milk Plate Waste Study

PLESD Milk Plate Waste Studytitle

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 In The Classroomtitle

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

Serving Line Changestitle

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 (this was not done with grant funds).  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 so students see it first.
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.  
Nutrition Ambassadors - Student Engagement

Nutrition Ambassadors - Student Engagementtitle

Out biggest successes came from an area we had not anticipated - our students!
We partnered with our Cobblestone Principal, Ms. Nichols, to create a student leadership position related to te cafeteria and healthful choices.  Ms. Nicols had begun work to reinvent the tried-and-true Student Government model to be more inclusive and more encompassing of the entire school and student body.  Instead of s limited number of elected students filling rigid positions within the student government, Student Leadership was created.
Student Leadership positions are all throughout the school, and any student who wishes to participate can begin as a Student Leader.  Students must stay in good standing with the school while they are in Leadership.  Jobs and positions range from Campus Greeter, to Library Literary assistant, and all te way to Nutrition Ambassador.
Nutrition Ambassadors are a group of 7 students (that's 14% of the entire leadership population for the 2016/17 school year!) paired up to rotate through the cafeteria on a weekly basis.  The pair of Nutrition Ambassadors help students make healthful food choices as well as learn about and share key nutrition messages for the week.
The Dairy Council of California coordiated with our Nutrition Ambassadors and shared a "Milk:101" training with the group in October, 2016.  This training was designed to give students key nutritional information, share peer-messaging ideas, and brainstorm ways to encourage the healthful behaviors our grant project desires.
At Riverside Meadows, Nutrition Ambassador titles were added to the Student Government members.  The Dairy Council of California engaged in a middle-school aged training with these students, focusing on the changing nutritional needs of pre-teen and teen bodies, and how milk meets several of the macro- and micro-nutritents.  The peer messaging for the middleschool aged students focused on the hydrating effect of milk, the benefits of vitamins D and B12, protien as long-lasting fuel, and carbohydrates as fast-acting energy.
And Always...More!

And Always...More!title

We're always updating this area of our website.
Please check back often to see our successes, our stumbles, and the next things we'll be trying!
Team Nutrition USDA
This project is made possible by a Team Nutrition: Smarter Lunchroom Movement grant.
Smarter Lunchrooms Movement California. The State of California, various icons and a lightbulb are in the background.
USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

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