Our project was a success! On Wednesday, the ready-to-go specials were made available in the Pavilion, giving students the option to bypass the long hot lunch line. Our fliers remain posted around the campus, and continue to educate the Windward community. Our main focus this week was our interactive element for the forum. We decided to display our educational flier next to our poster, along with a second flier about heart-healthy substitutions for unhealthy food. Also, Joy created a short nutrition quiz based on information from the American Heart Association website, featuring questions about various topics including fats, whole grains, sugars, and Nutrition Facts labels, which is now available on our blog as an additional educational tool. The final component of our interactive element was a display of packaged snacks, which we asked our visitors at the forum to order from healthiest to least healthy. We pointed out and explained important aspects of the Nutrition Facts labels and ingredient lists, and expressed our own opinions about which of the three snacks (LAY’SⓇ Classic Potato Chips, SmartfoodⓇ White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn, and Now and Later Long Lasting Chews) was the healthiest.
In summary, the data from our survey showed that many students were making their decisions in the Pavilion without much background knowledge about the consequences of unhealthy eating. It also showed that many students were willing to eat healthier if there were more options and shorter lines. We also gathered much data from our nutrition quiz. Although quite a few of our visitors took the quiz, no one earned a perfect score (the average score was about 5 out of 10 points). It was interesting that many of those who took our quiz did not know which nutrients were beneficial in a Nutrition Facts label, nor could they distinguish between healthy and unhealthy fats. We presented several times at the forum, and handed out fliers in hopes of encouraging healthy eating beyond Windward. To improve the accuracy of our results, we could have sent out our quiz to a greater number of people in order to get a better sense of how knowledgeable people are about the food choices they are making. We hope that everyone who visited our group during the forum benefited from our presentation and was inspired to eat healthier in some way!
This week, we worked on implementing our solution. We created fliers that we posted around the campus to educate people on healthy eating, and also displayed them on top of the salad bar in the Pavilion. Since the Pavilion has many healthy options for lunch, but lacks a variety of healthy breakfast foods, Khan agreed to feature avocado toast on the breakfast menu on Wednesday. The avocado toast was a success, and 35 servings were sold. If we had the time to publicize the avocado toast ahead of time, it could have done even better. In addition, to increase access to hot lunch specials, Khan graciously agreed to prepare ready-to-go bowls for those wanting an express option for one day next week. Besides working on our solution, we worked on our poster, which has come out really well.
In our interview with Khan, we discovered that the vast majority of the food in the Pavilion is made fresh and not processed. However, there are also a variety of less healthy packaged snacks and drinks. We will try to keep our educational flier available in the Pavilion to assist the Windward community in making healthy choices. To help as many people as possible, we have also posted the flier on our blog and shared it with Dr. Hashmi in case he might find it useful in his work. Finally, we will follow up with Khan to see if the ready-to-go hot lunch specials may become a more permanent feature, and if there are other opportunities in the future for the Pavilion to offer heart-healthy options for breakfast such as avocado toast.
On Monday, we met with Ann-Marie, who gave us some helpful feedback on our survey and took us to the Pavilion to set up an appointment with Khan. The next day, before lunch, Khan showed us through the cooking area and explained how CulinArt kept as much food as possible fresh. We were not able to access a log of sales, but we are planning to observe the food students buy every day on our own. We also had an opportunity to get in touch with Dr. Sean Hashmi, a board certified Internist, Nephrologist and Obesity Medicine Specialist at Kaiser Permanente. He kindly shared with us his presentation entitled “Scientific Approach to Nutrition 2017,” for which he had reviewed over 600 studies. We used some of the information in an education portion of our survey.
Later in the week, our survey results came back. We discovered that many students wanted shorter lines and/or more options. Many of them also indicated they would choose healthier foods after reading some of the information in our survey. As a group, we decided to encourage people to eat healthy in a few different ways to create a larger effect. Rachel went to the Pavilion and took notes on the amount of saturated fat in popular snacks, while Ben worked on the poster. Joy incorporated some of Dr. Hashmi’s feedback and created an educational flier on healthy eating with information from the American Heart Association and studies mentioned in Dr. Hashmi’s slides. On Friday, Jeff Miller gave tips on alignment, spacing, proximity, and contrast, and showed us how to organize our posters. We plan to introduce our ideas to CulinArt on Monday, which include adding a heart-healthy option (such as avocado toast), creating an express line for healthier food, and educating people on healthy food choices with signs and/or fliers.
This week, we reached out to Ann-Marie, Jacqueline, and Khan, the manager of CulinArt at Windward, to see if there is a possibility we can conduct an interview and look into the Pavilion food inventory and log of sales. We also created a survey that we hope to send out to the rest of our grade to measure the opinions of students about the food options in the Pavilion. The survey features a variety of questions and topics, ranging from food preferences to open-ended questions about reasons behind unhealthy eating. We are also planning to conduct a handful of interviews to get a deeper insight into the daily food choices of students in the seventh grade.
Once we’ve gathered the information, we will compare the results of our survey to the log of sales. From there, we will determine whether our goal is to help the Pavilion promote healthy options or stock healthier options. If students are not aware of the healthy options already being offered, we will explore the layout of the Pavilion on our own time and find out if we can change the location of certain foods or promote them in some other way. If there is simply a lack of choices, we will explain to the Culinart Group the importance of offering more heart-healthy options.