Parent Perception of School Meals in the San Joaquin Valley during COVID-19: A Photovoice Project
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Community-Academic-Policy Partnership
2.2. Study Design
2.3. Data Collection
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|a. Convenience of pick-up and communication||“I like the locations because the schools are so close to where I live.”|
“I like that they call us for updates that makes me remember.”
|b. Financial benefit from school meals||“A positive aspect is knowing that we have food, that, if in this pandemic we really run out of food, there is milk for example. If it is a great help and I have four children, it is good to know that there is food for them there.”|
“Well for me in particular a benefit right now as things are, which will lower employment, it is helping me financially.”
Bulk foods that support families financially by decreasing grocery needs for: (i) cartons of milk
(ii) bulk staple items like a bag of dried beans
|c. Pandemic safety||“Yes, I can easily access it and I enjoy that the staff are being safe for COVID-19 by wearing masks and things like that.”|
Meals in plastic bags that were perceived as improving pandemic safety.
|a. Wasted food due to unappealing meals||“They tell me they want to eat, but not the food here because it is bad quality. The meat has no flavor, and I even have to use the napkin to remove grease from the chicken nuggets.”|
“I went several times, and the fruit was bruised. I did not want them to eat it, so we threw it away and I would prefer not to throw away things.”
“There is too much waste, so I decided not to go.”
(i) Slice of pizza sitting in a pool of grease was unappealing to kids
(ii) Shrink wrapped pizza slice that is squished and misshaped.
|b. Lack of variety in meals||“I would like more options and less repetition. Then the kids get very tired and they just don’t eat it.”|
|c. Meals required additional preparation prior to consumption||“You cannot eat it right away. You need to fix it to be edible to eat it.”|
“I will prepare it for my son. But I add the lettuce, I add the tomato, the onion so that he can eat it. But they don’t give it that way at school. The school gives it to him plain.”
A sandwich with filling that was frozen
|d. Flimsy packaging led to damaged food||“The bags for me always break especially in the handle part and I feel bad because the food might be damaged.”|
“Squished” pizza roll
|a. Kids prefer fresh foods|| “One good thing is that they had fresh food, but when they come as packaged, they kind of spoil faster because they are sealed up.”|
“They [children] say they want the whole fruit, banana, apple, and they don’t want it packaged.”
(i) Whole apple and pear were preferred to packaged and sliced cucumbers and carrots, which were perceived as slimy.
|b. Food was perceived as too sweet and too greasy|| “The cereal is too sweet, everything is not healthy in this bunch of food.”|
“I think the only thing there that I don’t like being given so much is Pop-tarts, because it has a lot of sugar”
“It’s [school meals] crap crap food. It’s junk. Why are you going to put chips and fritos in front of the kids?”
“Children cannot sustain themselves on treats that give pure sugar. They [schools] give for the morning bars and cereal that are full of sugar.”
(i) Waffles and Pop-tarts were perceived as too sugary by parents.
(ii) Chips (Cheetos) and sugary cereal (Cinnamon Toast Crunch) were offered in the meals.
|c. Milk as a healthy staple food||“I like the milk because it helps lessen how much I have to buy from the store in addition to the fruit. This is helpful to me.”|
“I also like the milk because it lowers the cost of my monthly grocery bill. It can be used for cereal and things like that”.
½ gallon milk carton described as helping lower grocery bill.
|d. School meals set a poor example for a healthy lifestyle||“I think there needs to be more education and healthier choices… The school needs to be responsible for showing meals that are healthy, but also that the kids would actually enjoy. That is my point of view.”|
“My child commented to me, how do you expect me to eat healthy and good if I only like the milk out of the lunches we get? That is concerning to me because I want them [children] to be able to get the nutrients they need to do well in school and be healthy.”
“If the district wants children to eat healthy, but they are giving fatty food, they are giving a lot of cheese and it has a lot of fat, cholesterol rises and that children are consuming this at an early age also affects them.”
The food above was described as including an unhealthy breakfast of a “high-calorie bar” and lunch of bread with no vegetables.
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Share and Cite
Sohlberg, T.M.; Higuchi, E.C.; Ordonez, V.M.; Escobar, G.V.; De La Rosa, A.; Islas, G.; Castro, C.; Hecht, K.; Hecht, C.E.; Bruce, J.S.; Patel, A.I. Parent Perception of School Meals in the San Joaquin Valley during COVID-19: A Photovoice Project. Nutrients 2023, 15, 1087. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15051087
Sohlberg TM, Higuchi EC, Ordonez VM, Escobar GV, De La Rosa A, Islas G, Castro C, Hecht K, Hecht CE, Bruce JS, Patel AI. Parent Perception of School Meals in the San Joaquin Valley during COVID-19: A Photovoice Project. Nutrients. 2023; 15(5):1087. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15051087Chicago/Turabian Style
Sohlberg, Tatum M., Emma C. Higuchi, Valeria M. Ordonez, Gabriela V. Escobar, Ashley De La Rosa, Genoveva Islas, Cecilia Castro, Kenneth Hecht, Christina E. Hecht, Janine S. Bruce, and Anisha I. Patel. 2023. "Parent Perception of School Meals in the San Joaquin Valley during COVID-19: A Photovoice Project" Nutrients 15, no. 5: 1087. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15051087