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Plate waste and intake of school lunch based on the new Nordic diet and on packed lunches: a randomised controlled trial in 8- to 11-year-old Danish children

  • Anne V. Thorsen (a1), Anne D. Lassen (a1), Elisabeth W. Andersen (a2), Lene M. Christensen (a1), Anja Biltoft-Jensen (a1), Rikke Andersen (a1), Camilla T. Damsgaard (a3), Kim F. Michaelsen (a3) and Inge Tetens (a1)...

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to compare total food intake, total and relative edible plate waste and self-reported food likings between school lunch based on the new Nordic diet (NND) and packed lunch from home. In two 3-month periods in a cluster-randomised controlled unblinded cross-over study 3rd- and 4th-grade children (n 187) from two municipal schools received lunch meals based on NND principles and their usual packed lunch (control). Food intake and plate waste (n 1558) were calculated after weighing lunch plates before and after the meal for five consecutive days and self-reported likings (n 905) assessed by a web-based questionnaire. Average food intake was 6 % higher for the NND period compared with the packed lunch period. The quantity of NND intake varied with the menu (P < 0·0001) and was positively associated with self-reported likings. The edible plate waste was 88 (sd 80) g for the NND period and 43 (sd 60) g for the packed lunch period whereas the relative edible plate waste was no different between periods for meals having waste (n 1050). Edible plate waste differed between menus (P < 0·0001), with more waste on soup days (36 %) and vegetarian days (23 %) compared with the packed lunch period. Self-reported likings were negatively associated with percentage plate waste (P < 0·0001). The study suggests that portion sizes need to be considered in new school meal programmes. New strategies with focus on reduction of plate waste, children's likings and nutritious school meals are crucial from both a nutritional, economic and environmental point of view.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Anne Vibeke Thorsen, email avth@food.dtu.dk

References

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