Technical Integrity / Collaboration / Exceptional Results

Evaluation of Pilot School Lunch Program for Children’s Health Foundation

Integral worked with the nonprofit Children’s Health Foundation on an evaluation of a new school lunch program designed to improve student health and nutrition. The pilot Lunch for Life program, aimed at increasing the availability of healthful foods and encouraging healthy eating habits, was implemented at schools in the RE-2 school district in Colorado. As part of the program, changes to the lunch menu included removing many processed foods containing trans-fats, cooking more items from scratch, and increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Integral staff evaluated the status, feasibility, and sustainability of the changes made in the RE-2 school district. Using techniques ranging from school observations and surveys to detailed assessment of inventory and financial data, we evaluated the status and methods of implementation and identified any barriers—such as resource, procurement, or infrastructure limitations. We also completed an in-depth analysis of the financial implications of such changes. The goal of the evaluation was to provide information that can be used to guide future changes in other Colorado school districts and to inform broader legislative and policy needs related to school food and nutrition programs.

The evaluation built on prior Integral work with the Children’s Health Foundation on school nutrition-related issues. An earlier study evaluated the nutritional and financial impacts of replacing unhealthy à la carte offerings with healthier options.

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