Preordered school lunches may be healthier, study finds

Preordered school lunches may be healthier, study finds
Kids make better choices when they aren't swayed by enticing smell, appearance of less-nutritious fare.

(HealthDay)—Young students are more likely to choose healthier school lunches if they can preorder them, away from the temptations of the sights and aromas of food in the lunchroom, a new study finds.

The research included nearly 300 students at two in upstate New York. Over a four-week period, the students used an electronic system to preorder their lunch's main dish.

About 29 percent of the students selected the healthier entree when they were able to preorder, but that number dropped to about 15 percent when preordering was not available.

Students were also 48 percent less likely to select a healthier main dish and 21 percent more likely to chose a less healthy main dish when they made their choice in the lunch line instead of preordering, the researchers added.

The findings appear in a research letter published online May 3 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The findings "demonstrate how a simple —preordering—can prompt children to choose healthier food," concluded Andrew Hanks, of Cornell University, and colleagues.

How does preordering help kids make healthier choices? According to the researchers, "preordering could preempt hunger-based, spontaneous selections and eliminate the —evocative smells and sights—that lead to less ."

Hanks and his team say the preordering system used in the study was computer-based, but "paper-based systems are easy, inexpensive, and an immediately implementable alternative" for cash-strapped schools.

The bottom line, they say: "A smarter is not confined to the space between the cafeteria walls."

More information: The Nemours Foundation has more about children and healthy eating.

Related Stories

Smarter lunchrooms make lunch choices child's play

date Feb 22, 2013

In January 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture passed a series of regulations designed to make school lunches more nutritious, which included requiring schools to increase whole grain offerings and making students ...

'It's not nutritious until it's eaten'

date Feb 13, 2012

As part of her "Let's Move! Initiative," First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a new web resource highlighting new changes in the Chefs Move to Schools, during a CMST gathering in Dallas, TX today. CMTS advocates ...

Seeing certain foods prompts kids to eat healthier

date Jul 25, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Just because healthful foods are available in school cafeterias doesn't mean children are going to eat them, but in some cases, the very presence of such foods as whole fruit may actually prompt kids to ...

Recommended for you

Obese teens in study less likely to use contraception

date Jul 01, 2015

A study of nearly 1,000 teens found that sexually active obese adolescents were significantly less likely to use contraception than normal weight peers, putting them at higher risk of unintended pregnancy.

Extracurricular sports produce disciplined preteens

date Jul 01, 2015

Regular, structured extracurricular sports seem to help kids develop the discipline they need in order to engage effectively in the classroom, according to a new study led by Linda Pagani of the University ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.