Brighter Bites

UTHealth School of Public Health

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 tasting experience during produce pick up time. Brighter Bites is implemented for 16 weeks during the school year and 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.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: 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 240 Head Start centers, elementary schools, and community centers in:

  • Houston, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Austin, TX
  • New York City, NY
  • Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
  • Southwest Florida

Setting: Child care (Learn), Community (Live), School (Learn)

Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years), Elementary School, Parents/Mothers/Fathers, Adults,

Race/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: During weekly produce pickups, Brighter Bites creates a fun food experience, demonstrating recipes, passing out samples, and discussing healthy habits.

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 Materials

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-based Approach: 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
Senior Program Director
Brighter Bites
832-369-9302
mike.pomeroy@brighterbites.org