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Abstract

As of fall 2012, school food services have needed to provide vegetables in greater quantities and diversity to fulfill new USDA requirements for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). This paper summarizes the results of a set of experiments conducted in four DC public schools that provided taste tests of new vegetables to NSLP participants. Using a basic difference-in-difference design, the results found that a simple taste test led to higher consumption among students of collard greens, and a more elaborate taste test that allowed students to vote on their favorite style of preparation led to higher consumption of sweet potatoes, a starchy vegetable that was surprisingly unpopular at the beginning of the year. The small numbers of schools included in the study limits the tests somewhat, but the positive and significant results suggest that exposing children to new vegetables, and especially giving them some ownership in how the vegetables are prepared, can lead to more children eating new vegetables.

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