Lunch is in the Bag

Banner image for Lunch is in the Bag

Project Overview

The purpose of this intervention is to encourage parents to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in sack lunches for their preschool children in childcare centers.  The goal for this research is the development of new strategies for the promotion of healthy eating practices in children through childcare centers.

Project Details

With 73% of US children ages 3-5 in regular non-parental care, childcare is a very important setting for encouraging parents to increase young children’s opportunities to eat and enjoy fruits, vegetables and whole grains; despite this opportunity, few studies have been conducted in childcare settings. The primary aim of this project is to evaluate Lunch is in the Bag, an intervention to encourage parents to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in sack lunches for their preschool children in childcare centers.

The intervention includes 5 weekly parent handouts, along with center based parent and child activities to reinforce concepts in the handouts, followed by a booster activity three months after the initial intervention. Outcome measures include changes in:

  1. the amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, chips, and sweets packed in the sack lunches;
  2. the amounts of these foods consumed by the children;
  3. parent knowledge, norms and intention;
  4. teacher support and awareness; and
  5. center environment to support a healthy diet.

The ultimate goal for this research is the development of new strategies for the promotion of healthy eating practices in children through childcare centers, which will decrease their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases later in life.

Funding

Year Funded:

Funding Duration:

Funding Source: National Institutes of Health

Funding Amount: $2,230,258

Thumbnail image for ¿Que Puedo Empacar En El Almuerzo De Mi Hijo?

¿Que Puedo Empacar En El Almuerzo De Mi Hijo?

2/12/18 - Mezcla y combina los grupos de alimentos de MiPlato. Imaginar en grupos de alimentos ayuda a asegurar que su hijo(a) reciba los nutrientes que e?l o ella necesita.

Thumbnail image for What Can I Pack In My Child's Lunch?

What Can I Pack In My Child's Lunch?

2/12/18 - Mix & match from MyPlate Food Groups. Thinking about lunched in food groups helps ensure your child gets the nutrients he or she needs.

Parent packs, child eats: Surprising results of Lunch is in the Bag's efficacy trial

(Roberts-Gray C, Ranjit N, Sweitzer SJ, Byrd-Williams CE, Romo-Palafox MJ, Briley ME, Hoelscher DM; Appetite; 2018)

Contribution of Beverage Selection to the Dietary Quality of the Packed Lunches Eaten by Preschool-Aged Children

(Maria Jose Romo-Palafox, PhD, RD; Nalini Ranjit, PhD; Sara J. Sweitzer, PhD, RD, LD; Cindy Roberts-Gray, PhD; Courtney E. Byrd-Williams, PhD; Margaret E. Briley, PhD, RD, LD; Deanna M. Hoelscher, PhD, RD, LD, CNS; Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 2017)

Efficacy of the Lunch is in the Bag intervention to increase parents' packing of healthy sack lunches for young children: a cluster-randomized trial in early care and education centers

(Roberts-Gray C, Briley M, Ranjit N, Byrd-Williams C, Sweitzer SJ, Sharma SV, Romo-Palafox M, Hoelscher DM; International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity; 2016)

Effectiveness of the Lunch is in the Bag program on communication between the parent, child and childcare provider around fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods: A group-randomized controlled trial

(Sharma SV, Rashid T, Ranjit N, Byrd-Williams C, Chuang RJ, Roberts-Gray C, Briley M, Sweitzer S, Hoelscher DM; Preventive Medicine; 2015)

Dietary quality of preschooler's sack lunches as measured by the Healthy Eating Index

Romo-Palafox MJ, Ranjit N, Sweitzer SJ, Roberts-Gray C, Hoelscher DM, Byrd-Williams CE, Briley ME; Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 2015)

Development of a method to observe preschoolers' packed lunches in early care and education centers

(Sweitzer SJ, Byrd-Williams CE, Ranjit N, Romo-Palafox MJ, Briley ME, Roberts-Gray CR, Hoelscher DM; Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition and Dietetics; 2015)

Examining how a booster session for a behavioral nutrition intervention prompts parents to pack more vegetables and whole grains in their preschool children's sack lunches

(Sweitzer, SJ, Ranjit, N, Calloway, E, Hoelscher, DM, Fawaz, A, Briley, ME, Roberts-Gray, CR; Behavioral Medicine, 2014)

Psychosocial outcomes of Lunch is in the Bag, a parent program for packing healthy lunches for preschool children

(Sweitzer SJ, Briley ME, Roberts-Grey C, Hoelscher DM, Harrist RB, Staskel DM, Almansour FD; Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2011)

Photo of Courtney Byrd-Williams

Courtney Byrd-Williams, PhD

Principal Investigator, Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite; Director, Maternal and Child Health Training Program Photo of Deanna Hoelscher

Deanna Hoelscher, PhD, RDN, LD, CNS, FISBNPA

Thumbnail image for

Surprising Results of LunchBag's Efficacy Trial

The LunchBag intervention study has been one of the largest trials to examine this population. The results of LunchBag reveal what parents pack in their child’s lunches, what children eat, and how a theory-based intervention can make changes in parent packing behavior.