All parents want their children to eat more fruit and vegetables in their diet. So When the U.S. Department of Agriculture passed new guidelines in 2012 that students at public schools take at least one fruit or vegetable in their lunch tray, it seems this was a step in the right direction for children’s nutrition. However, a recent survey showed kids are actually eating less and throwing away more fruits and vegetables.

Increased waste

When the 2012 guideline was passed, there was a 13% increased in fruits or vegetables being on students’ lunch trays. However, a recent study published online in Public Health Reports showed that more students are actually throwing away these fruits and vegetables.

Digital survey

Researchers used a digital imaging method where they took pictures of students’ lunch trays after they filled them up and after they finished. The researchers documented 498 trays at 10 schools before the guideline was implemented, and 944 trays at 11 schools after the guideline.

They found that students ate less fruits and vegetables (11.8 percent decrease) and threw away more waster (56 percent increase) after the guideline was implemented in 2012. In other words, students ate less fruit and vegetables, and threw away more after the guideline requiring students to take away a fruit or vegetable on their trays.

Still hope

The researchers did discuss some options to get students to eat more fruits and vegetables. They suggested cutting up the fruits and vegetables. They said other strategies, like using processed fruits and vegetables that student like to eat, can be implemented.