Protein Pods and a New Coat of Paint

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This project looks at factors in the middle school cafeteria in the Rosedale neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas. Rosedale has a 51% childhood obesity rate, and 86% of Rosedale Middle School students are eligible for free lunch. American children who eat school lunches are 29% more likely to be obese than their counterparts. These statistics influenced our decision to focus on Rosedale Middle School and address the underlying issues. Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab conducted a study that demonstrated that kids consumed double the amount of vegetables and fruit when they were given creative names.
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May 30, 2013
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The Rosedale Middle School cafeteria lunch line would be given a new coat of paint, wood paneling, large wall graphics, and a slideshow displaying the menu items and their healthy new names.
Large fruit and vegetable wall decals make the space more colorful and lively. The vibrant imagery acts as a reminder to choose the healthy options first in the cafeteria.
Each classroom receives a copy of the paper menu for the students to think about before going to lunch. There is a menu for each daily rotation.
Healthy menu items are renamed to illustrate their nutritional value.
Tasty taters get their name because of their use as a side dish.

We found that the problem was not with the food itself, but in the dining experience for the students. The cafeteria was beige and the food was presented in a way that was not appetizing at all. How can we design an environment and an experience that makes the cafeteria more conducive to healthier eating habits?


Our solution to reinforce these healthy habits is, in a nutshell, an environmental redesign. Our components consist of: a lunch line reversal so healthy foods are seen and acquired first, a new look for the cafeteria, and two types of menus with healthy items renamed to be more appealing.