Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Successful Implementation of Climate-Friendly, Nutritious and Acceptable School Meals in Practice: the OPTIMAT™ Intervention Study

Version 1 : Received: 1 September 2020 / Approved: 2 September 2020 / Online: 2 September 2020 (10:37:18 CEST)

How to cite: Elinder, L.S.; Eustachio Colombo, P.; Patterson, E.; Parlesak, A.; Lindroos, A.K. Successful Implementation of Climate-Friendly, Nutritious and Acceptable School Meals in Practice: the OPTIMAT™ Intervention Study. Preprints 2020, 2020090041 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0041.v1). Elinder, L.S.; Eustachio Colombo, P.; Patterson, E.; Parlesak, A.; Lindroos, A.K. Successful Implementation of Climate-Friendly, Nutritious and Acceptable School Meals in Practice: the OPTIMAT™ Intervention Study. Preprints 2020, 2020090041 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0041.v1).

Abstract

Introducing children to sustainable and healthy school meals can promote a long-term dietary shift to lower climate impact and improve population health. The aim of the OPTIMAT study was to optimize meals for minimum deviation from the current food supply while reducing greenhouse gases and ensuring nutritional adequacy without increasing cost. Optimized menus were tested in four primary schools in Sweden and effects on daily food consumption and waste evaluated. Pupils received their usual menu plan for three weeks and then the isocaloric optimized menu plan for another three weeks. Nutritional recommendations for a school lunch and a maximum of 500 grams of CO2eq/meal were applied as constraints during linear programming. Pulses, Cereals, Meat and Eggs increased, while Fats and Oils, Dairy, Sauces and Seasonings decreased. The amount of ruminant meat was reduced in favor of other meat products. The new menu was 28% lower in greenhouse gas emissions and slightly less costly than the original. No significant changes in mean food consumption or plate waste were found in interrupted time series analysis between the two periods. This pragmatic approach for combining linear optimization with meal planning could accelerate sustainable development of the meal sector in Sweden and abroad.

Subject Areas

Children; diet; greenhouse gas emission; intervention; linear programming; optimization; sustainable development

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