School Meal Regulations and Child Nutrition: Environmental Approaches to Improve Intake

Summary of Findings:

  •  The School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) requirements have recently been updated to improve the healthfulness of school meals.
  • For these changes to improve children’s health status, efforts must be made to increase the acceptance and consumption of the available healthful foods.
  • Behavioral economic approaches change the choice architecture to make the healthful choice the default option, often healthful choices are more convenient or visually appealing than less healthful choices. Thus, these approaches can nudge students toward healthful choices and increase intake of healthful foods.
  • Effective behavioral economic strategies should be incorporated into federally funded nutrition programs.