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Open AccessArticle

Acceptability and Feasibility of Best Practice School Lunches by Elementary School-Aged Children in a Serve Setting: A Randomized Crossover Trial

1
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
2
Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
3
Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
4
Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health, Physical Activity and Nutrition Clinical Research Consortium, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6299; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176299
Received: 29 July 2020 / Revised: 22 August 2020 / Accepted: 27 August 2020 / Published: 29 August 2020
Background: National School Lunch Program (NSLP) standards have improved school lunch dietary quality (DQ), however, further improvements could be made. Acceptability and feasibility of higher DQ are potential barriers. Thus, the purpose is to compare acceptability and feasibility of best practice (BPSL, optimizing DQ) with typical school lunches (TSL, meeting minimum NSLP standards) served separately and concurrently. Methods: Forty elementary school-aged participants were recruited for a randomized crossover trial. Participants attended three meal conditions (MC) choosing one of two meal types—MC1) BPSL1/BPSL2, MC2) TSL1/TSL2, MC3) BPSL/TSL. Acceptability included taste test surveys, weighted plate waste assessments, and hunger scales. Feasibility included meal cost, time, and skill and equipment requirements. Results: There were no significant differences in total taste test score, average total plate waste, or change in hunger (ps > 0.017) before or after adjusting for covariates. TSL was selected significantly more often in MC3 (TSL = 83.3%, BPSL = 16.7%, p = 0.001). Meal cost (p = 0.783) and skill and equipment requirements were not significantly different between meal types. BPSL required significantly longer preparation time (TSL = 60 ± 25 min, BPSL = 267 ± 101 min, p = 0.026). Conclusions: Results indicate few differences in acceptability and feasibility between BPSL and TSL. This study could inform decision and policy-makers seeking to improve school lunch DQ and acceptance of higher DQ meals. View Full-Text
Keywords: National School Lunch Program; dietary quality; child nutrition National School Lunch Program; dietary quality; child nutrition
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Joyce, J.M.; Harris, K.; Mailey, E.L.; Rosenkranz, R.R.; Rosenkranz, S.K. Acceptability and Feasibility of Best Practice School Lunches by Elementary School-Aged Children in a Serve Setting: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6299.

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