IO Education

School Nutrition Data

The nutrition program at a school site is a vital part of both school operations and student learning.

From an operational standpoint, a significant amount of time and money is dedicated to the school nutrition program. From a student learning standpoint, kids need to eat nutritious foods in order to perform strongly in the classroom. A student who is hungry or sick will not be able to effectively learn.

The key to achieving an optimal nutritional program at your school site lies in effectively using data to drive decisions. School nutrition program data can be collected on nearly every aspect of the operations: when students eat, what they eat, how many students are eating, the choices that they make, surpluses and deficits, the number of teachers eating, etc. More in-depth data, such as participants’ likes and dislikes regarding the nutrition program, can be easily gathered using surveys.

Consistently gathering and analyzing these data points will optimize decision making. They will also help you notice trends, which can greatly influence long-term program changes.

As the School Nutrition Association puts it, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” In a recent article, they point out that even without a designated data team, the data is still available and accessible.

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