Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Teresa Carithers

Second Advisor

Yunhee Chang

Third Advisor

Katie Wilson

Relational Format



The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally supported school meal program. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA), 2010 based on the recommendations by Institute of Medicine (IOM) introduced new meal pattern that comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and these are the major changes made in the past 15 years to school meal programs. The objective of the study was to evaluate the opinions of school nutrition professionals on the new meal pattern being implemented through the NSLP with a focus on fruit and vegetable components. A questionnaire was developed and distributed at strategic locations. The participants in the study were school nutrition professionals attending their Annual School Nutrition Association (SNA) conferences in New York (NY) and Mississippi (MS) and also a Major City training symposium in MS. The study was focused on evaluation of 6 cent reimbursement per lunch as a motivational factor to achieve the new meal pattern, practices to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption in schools and their perception of challenges in meeting the new fruit and new vegetable subgroup requirement. The study also determined if differences existed between the Northeast, Southeast and Major city schools in the frequency of serving, plate waste, availability, cost and storage for various types of fruits and vegetables. Percentages, means, t-test and One-way ANOVA analysis, post-hoc comparisons were used to analyze the data. The majority of participants were from school districts (71.6%) and are district directors (42.7%). More than 50% of participants considered the 6 cent reimbursement per lunch motivating for the achievement of the new meal pattern. Nutrition education was the widely used practice to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption. Significant differences were found in the challenges for meeting new fruit and vegetable subgroup components and regional differences for the frequency of serving, plate waste, availability, cost and storage for some types of fruits and vegetables. Future research can be focused to evaluate the challenges of meeting other menu components and verify if the frequency of serving fruits and vegetables differ due to availability, cost and storage.

Included in

Nutrition Commons



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