Meeting the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in school meals: Current practices, perceived barriers, and future training needs
A sample of 628 school food service personnel was surveyed to determine what changes had been instituted in school food service programs to ensure compliance with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, perceived barriers that prevented making such changes, self-perceived training needs, and type and amount of nutrition education being provided. The majority of school food service staff reported having made changes to school meals to ensure compliance with the Dietary Guidelines. Perceived barriers included lack of training and time for modified meal preparation, poor student acceptance of modified meals, and higher costs of modified meals. Perceived training needs included training on developing standardized menus, computer diet analysis training, information on using commodity foods in modified menus, methods for implementing the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in school meals, and methods for increasing student acceptance of meals. The majority of respondents felt that nutrition education was an important part of their job, but less than half of the respondents reported providing it. Lack of time, training and education materials, inadequate staff cooperation, not being required to teach nutrition, and not being comfortable when teaching nutrition were cited as barriers to providing nutrition education.
Stang, JS; Story, M; Kalina, B; Snyder, MP
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