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Overview

Brighter Bites is a school-based health promotion program designed to change the behavior of children and their families to prevent childhood obesity and achieve long-term health outcomes. Brighter Bites includes: a) weekly produce distribution, b) nutrition education in schools and for parents, and c) a weekly fun food recipe demonstrations and tasting experiences for children and their parents throughout the school year. Brighter Bites is implemented for up to 16 weeks during the school year and up to 8 weeks during the summer. Participating schools are also trained to implement the evidence-based Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) curriculum other evidence-based programs that promote healthy food choices and physical activity. This comprehensive approach supports the shift in the culture of each school and families within that school toward being healthier and more focused on nutrition and healthy living.

Intervention Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

SNAP-Ed Strategies: Direct Education, PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Brighter Bites engages young children, children, parents, teachers, and administrators in child care, school, and community settings. Brighter Bites is currently implemented in over 300 Head Start centers, elementary schools, and community centers in:

  • Houston, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Austin, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • New York City, NY
  • Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area (Prince George's County, MD)
  • Southwest Florida (Lee County and Collier County)
  • Salinas, CA (Monterey County)
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Bakersfield, CA 
  • Phoenix, AZ

Settings: Pre-K & Childcare, Community-wide, Schools

Age/Population Group: Preschool, Elementary School, Parents/Caregivers, Adults 

Race: All

Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Brighter Bites is a multi-component program done in three steps:

  1. Produce Distribution: Brighter Bites distributes fresh produce for participants to take home. Each week, families receive 50 servings (~20 lbs) of fruits and vegetables; the aim is to grow demand for produce by channeling it into 'low-access' communities. Parents volunteer with Bright Bites, which builds community engagement and ownership.
  2. Nutrition Education: Brighter Bites trains teachers to implement CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) and other evidence-based coordinated school health nutrition education programs. Parents also receive weekly educational tools, including nutrition handbooks, recipes, and tip-sheets, to demystify produce.
  3. Fun Food Experience: Each school year, Brighter Bites provides school-based healthy fruit and vegetable recipe demonstrations and culinary tools for children and parents, as well as ongoing engagement with parents about healthy cooking topics via social media and mobile app.

The Brighter Bites logic model is located here.

Intervention Materials

Brighter Bites has a robust library of recipes that feature fruits and vegetables, tip sheets to help families live healthy lives, and how-to's that explain how to prepare different fruits and vegetables. All are available for free PDF download here.

Intervention Costs

Materials are available at no cost.

Evidence Summary

Brighter Bites is theoretically grounded in the Social Cognitive Theory constructs to produce behavior change. UTHealth conducted a two-year evaluation of Brighter Bites across 6 schools that received the program, and 6 schools that implemented CATCH only (760 parent-child dyads). Results of the study demonstrated that, as compared to children and families that did not receive Brighter Bites, those participating in Brighter Bites reported:

  • Significant increases in servings of fruits and vegetables consumed
  • Significant increases in serving more fruits and vegetables as snacks
  • A significant decrease in added sugars consumed among children
  • A two-fold increase in cooking meals using basic ingredients

A full list of publications can be found here.

Evidence Base: Research-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

  Readiness and Capacity - Short Term (ST) Changes - Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance - Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual   MT1    
Environmental Settings      
Sectors of Influence      
  • MT1l. Children receiving BB had significant increases in intake of fruit servings (p=.046), vegetable servings (p=.049), and decreased intake of added sugars (p=.014).
  • MT1m. Children receiving BB had significant increases in intake of fruit servings (p=.046), vegetable servings (p=.049), and decreased intake of added sugars (p=.014).
  • MT1h. Children receiving BB had significant increases in intake of fruit servings (p=.046), vegetable servings (p=.049), and decreased intake of added sugars (p=.014).
Evaluation Materials

Currently, no evaluation tools or materials are available.

Additional Information

Website: The Brighter Bites website includes tips and tools to support implementation and an overview of research results.

Contact Person:

Mike Pomeroy, MPH

Vice President of Operations

Brighter Bites

281-684-7449

mike.pomeroy@brighterbites.org  

 

*Updated as of August 20, 2023

Year
2018
Resource Type
Evidence Base
Intervention Outcome Levels
SNAP-Ed Strategies
Race
Ethnicity
Intervention Target Behavior
Language
Evaluation Framework Indicators