OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With children all across the country returning back to school this month, the nutrition in school meals is also back in the spotlight. While parents and kids don't often see eye-to-eye on what makes a school lunch great, a recent survey of 1,800 students and parents nationwide* conducted by Revolution Foods, the nation's leading healthy school meals provider, revealed the majority of parents (88 percent) and students (66 percent) agreed that healthier school meals could help students perform better in school. The survey findings support a study conducted by University of California, Berkeley and the Nutrition Policy Institute that suggests healthier meals could raise student achievement by about 4 percentile points on average.
For millions of Americans, particularly those in lower income communities, access to healthy foods is still limited. In fact, many families in the U.S. rely on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to nourish their children – according to the School Nutrition Association, the NSLP provides lunch to over 30 million students every day.
"Nutrition education is an important aspect of developing lifelong healthy eating habits," said Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author, and Revolution Foods spokesperson. "As a mother of three school-aged children, I have personally witnessed how proper nutrition and access to healthy food can be tools of empowerment in driving positive academic outcomes and help children achieve their true potential. From cultivating healthy eating habits at home to offering well-balanced meals in schools, good nutrition should be a priority for parents, teachers and school administrators."
Over 80 percent of parents surveyed by Revolution Foods claimed they have children that rely on school meals for daily nutrition. When asked what they would change about school meals, the majority of parents (40 percent) and students (30 percent) voted in favor of broader menu selection and the variety of items available. Sourcing school meals with more fresh ingredients came in as the second most popular option among survey respondents. The survey also revealed parents (80 percent) and students (60 percent) agreed that balanced nutrition, including a selection of lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies, was the most important part of school meals.
"We design around kids' taste preferences and are committed to creating kid-inspired, chef-crafted meals that students will enjoy eating in schools," says Chef Clifton Lyles, Vice President of Culinary Excellence at Revolution Foods. "A key to developing lifelong healthy eaters is introducing children to a variety of tastes and textures at an early age."
Revolution Foods is the only school meal provider on a national level to leverage a clean-label supply chain and is proud to partner with a variety of local, regional and national vendors to source high-quality ingredients that meet its clean label standards, including serving 96,000 pounds of vegetables and 1.2 million portions of fruit per week. In addition to incorporating fresh produce into its meal offerings, Revolution Foods works closely with each market it serves to ensure its chefs craft culturally and regionally relevant menus to deliver great-tasting meals that broaden students' palates.
Furthermore, 75 percent of both parents and students agreed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, but only 20 percent of students in the U.S. eat breakfast at school. The survey also indicated the majority of parents (95 percent) and students (77 percent) agreed learning about nutrition and healthy eating was an important part of school education, underscoring the importance of nutrition programs beyond the lunch line -- which is why Revolution Foods partners with best-in-class community partners like FoodCorps and Share Our Strength to bring cooking classes, gardening lessons, and other educational resources to schools around the nation.
"At Revolution Foods, we're committed to making healthy food accessible to all and believe everyone deserves access to real, high-quality food made with carefully considered ingredients," said Kristin Groos Richmond, co-founder and CEO of Revolution Foods. "These survey findings show us that there's a growing appetite for healthy school meals across the board. Whether you're a parent, policy maker or a school administrator, there's no denying that access to proper nutrition and healthy foods has a positive impact on children and helps set them up for successful and healthy futures. By sourcing clean ingredients and designing, producing and delivering healthy and affordable meals to students and families throughout the country, we hope to equip parents, teachers and students with valuable tools and resources to continue positive nutrition education beyond the lunch line."
The survey also revealed the following findings:
When asked what each group considered as an ideal school meal, the majority of parents (45 percent) and students (30 percent) selected "bento-style meals with a variety of finger foods, including meat, cheese, fruit, veggies, pretzels, etc." over unhealthier options like burgers and fries, pizza and chicken nuggets.
Both parents (64 percent) and students (58 percent) claimed that it was sometimes challenging to make healthy eating a priority.
As the leading national school meal provider to offer a clean label supply chain, Revolution Foods creates healthy meals made from real food and wholesome ingredients free of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. The company also engages students at every step of the product development process to ensure it creates food they will love. Revolution Foods currently serves over 2.5 million meals per week to more than 2,500 schools and community sites throughout the U.S, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Austin, Newark, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. For more information on Revolution Foods visit RevolutionFoods.com.
*Survey was distributed to 1,800 high school students and parents via Pollfish in August 2018.
ABOUT REVOLUTION FOODS: Founded in 2006 by two moms on a mission to transform the way America eats, Revolution Foods set out to solve the problem of limited access to healthy meals. The company's innovative approach began with serving freshly prepared, healthy meals to students in schools nationwide, and the company is now serving over 2.5 million kid-inspired and chef-crafted school meals every week to 2,500 sites, including childhood education centers, districts, charters, and community and afterschool youth programs. Revolution Foods aims to promote overall family wellness by equipping parents, teachers and students with valuable tools and resources to continue positive nutrition education beyond the lunch line. Together with best-in-class community partners such as FoodCorps and Share Our Strength, Revolution Foods brings nutrition curriculum, cooking classes, gardening lessons and other education events to students beyond the cafeteria. Revolution Foods is a certified B corporation that aims to drive systems change—from policy and food systems evolution to driving positive student academic and health outcomes, the company is setting the standard for how businesses can build a brighter future for our nation's youth and families.