DOES BRIGHTER BITES WORK?

While food co-ops are becoming popular, there is little published literature to show their benefit and impact.
This is where Brighter Bites takes the fruitcake.

Researchers at the UTHealth School of Public Health conducted a two-year study evaluating the impact of Brighter Bites on 760 students and their families at nine schools in Houston during the 2013-15 school years. Results from this study have been published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal called Preventive Medicine.

Suffice it to say, science finally proves what we’ve suspected all along:

Brighter Bites works—and works well.


Study results show that, as compared to participants in the control group (not receiving Brighter Bites), children and parents who did receive Brighter Bites demonstrated:

HEALTHIER HABITS

Significant increase in amount of fruits and vegetables consumed.

LESS ADDED SUGAR

Significant decrease in amount of added sugars consumed among children.

MORE HOME COOKING

Twofold increase in cooking meals from scratch

HEALTHIER SNACKING

Significant increase in serving more fruits and vegetables as snacks.

MORE FAMILY MEALS

Significant increase in eating produce-heavy meals together at home

SMARTER DECISIONS

Twofold increase in using nutrition labels to guide grocery purchases

“Brighter Bites is a theory-driven, evidence-based health promotion program that mitigates fruit and vegetable waste and converts it into a public health opportunity by systematically sourcing and channeling primarily donated produce into underserved communities.”

“The overarching goal of Brighter Bites is to increase the demand for, and intake of, fruits and vegetables among low-income children and their families. To ensure this happens, our model provides comprehensive nutrition education for students and their parents and creates exciting opportunities for children to practice healthy eating behaviors in school and at home. Ongoing evaluation allows us to critically assess program efficacy, while pushing the scientific dialogue forward to understand how to healthfully feed our families.”

DR. SHREELA SHARMA, CO-FOUNDER

Read Her Bio

SUSTAINED CONSUMPTION

94% of participating parents reported their family ate all or most of the fruits provided, and 87% ate all or most of the vegetables.

HIGH PROGRAM FIDELITY

Participating families reported attending 7 of 8 available distributions on average in each of the fall and spring semesters.

LOW COST OF PRODUCE

On average each week, Brighter Bites families received 57 servings of fruits and vegetables, which cost the program $2.65 per family per week.

BRIGHTER BITES INTERVENTION LOGIC MODEL, HOUSTON, TEXAS 2013-2015

THE FRAMEWORK BEHIND THE FRUIT

How we built our three-part formula, developed our messaging and materials, and continue to evaluate program success.

explore our LOGIC MODEL

FEATURED PROJECT

IMPACT OF SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH ON BRIGHTER BITES PARTICIPANTS

We are currently studying how the social determinants of health, specifically food insecurity, impacts our Brighter Bites families’ behaviors such as grocery shopping, dietary intake, and program attendance.

CONTINUED RESEARCH

Translating research into practice, and practice into research.

Publications

Allison N. Marshall, Christine Markham, Nalini Ranjit, Gregory Bounds, Joanne Chow, Shreela V. Sharma Long-term impact of a school-based nutrition intervention on home nutrition environment and family fruit and vegetable intake: A two-year follow-up study. Preventive Medicine Reports 20 (2020) 101247

Sharma SV, Chuang R, Rushing M, Naylor B, Ranjit N, Pomeroy M, et al. Social Determinants of Health–Related Needs During COVID-19 Among Low-Income Households With Children. Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17:200322.

Sharma SV, Haidar A, Noyola J, Tien J, Rushing M, Naylor BM, et al. (2020) Using a rapid assessment methodology to identify and address immediate needs among low-income households with children during COVID-19. PLoS ONE 15(10):e0240009

Amier Haidar BS , Amelia Khoei BS , Saira Alex BS , Christina Blick BS , Elyse Lopez BS , Sydney Wendt BS , Ramesh Ghanta BS , Maha Almohamad PhD , Stefanie Cousins MPH , Jacqueline Noyola BS , Jacqueline Tien BS , Christine Markham PhD , Shreela V. Sharma PhD, RD, LD, Community-academic partnerships to promote health literacy and address social needs among low-income families during COVID-19, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (2020)

Marshall, A., Bounds, G., Patlovich, K., Markham, C., Farhat, A., Cramer, N., Oceguera, A., Croom, T., Carrillo, J., & Sharma, S., Study Design and Protocol to Assess Fruit and Vegetable Waste at School Lunches. Behavioral Sciences. 2019, Volume 9, Issue 9, pp 101-116.

Sharma, S.V., Markham, C., Ranjit, N., Marshall, A., Bounds, G., Chow, J., & Hearne, K., Impact of a school-based nutrition intervention on fruit and vegetable waste at school lunches – Results from the Brighter Bites pilot plate waste study. Journal of Nutrition, Education, and Behavior. 2019, Volume 000, pp 1-9 .

Sharma, S.V., Upadhyaya, M., Bounds, G., & Markham, C., A public health opportunity found in food waste. Preventing Chronic Disease. November 2017, Volume 14:160596.

Alcazar, L., Raber, M., Lopez, K.,  Markham, C., & Sharma, S.V., Examining the impact of a school-based fruit and vegetable co-op in the Hispanic community through documentary photography. Appetite. 2017, Volume 116, pp 115-122.

Sharma, S. V., Chow, J., Pomeroy, M., Raber, Salako, D. O., & Markham, C. Lessons learned from the implementation of Brighter Bites: a food co-op to increase access to fruits and vegetables and nutrition education among low-income children and their families. Journal of School Health. April 2017, Volume 87, Number 4, pp 284-296.

Raber, M., Sharma, S. V., Pomeroy, M., Mody, A., Markham, C., & Lopez, K. K. Brighter Sights: Using Photovoice for a Process Evaluation of a Food Co-op Style Nutrition Intervention. Journal of Health Disparities Research. Fall 2016, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 20-34.

Sharma, S. V., Markham, C., Chow, J., Ranjit, N., Pomeroy, M., & Raber, M. Evaluating a school-based fruit and vegetable co-op in low-income children: a quasi-experimental study. Preventive Medicine. 2016, Volume 91, pp 8–17.

Sharma, S. V., Markham, C., Helfman, L., Albus, K., Pomeroy, & M, Chuang, R.J. Feasibility and acceptability of Brighter Bites: A food co-op in schools to increase access, continuity and education of fruits and vegetables among low-income populations. Journal of Primary Prevention. 2015, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 281-286.

PRESENTATIONS

Sharma, S., Pomeroy, M., Noyola, J. (December 2020) Supporting Families in Crisis: A rapid assessment methodology to address needs in low-income houses during COVID-19. Webinar presentation through Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.

Sharma, S.V., Scott, L. (February 2020). Brighter Bites: Improving Community Health by Creating a New Generation of Produce Consumers. Oral presentation at the Association of SNAP Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA) Winter Conference in Arlington, VA.

Sharma, S.V. (February 2020). The Impact of Diet on Gut Health and Overall Wellness. Invited Speaker at UTHealth Spring Luncheon in Houston, TX.

Cousins, S., Sharma, S.V. (November 2017). Brighter Bites: Marketing as a catalyst for change. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association 2017 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Alcazar, L., Sharma, S.V. (November 2016). Brighter Bites Photovoice: Perspectives from Hispanic participating parents towards the Brighter Bites program. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO.

Sharma, S., Markham, C., Chow, J., Ranjit, N., Pomeroy, M., & Raber, M. (November 2016). A comparative effectiveness study of Brighter Bites: A food co-op intervention to improve access to fresh F&V and nutrition education among low-income children and families. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO.

Pomeroy, M. (November 2016). Brighter Bites: Implementing a Food Co-op Concept in Underserved Schools. Oral Presentation at the Southern Obesity Summit in Houston, TX.

Past, Present and Future of SNAP: Evaluating Effectiveness and Outcomes in SNAP-Ed: Hearings before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, 114th Cong. (June 2016) (Testimony of Shreela Sharma, PhD, RD, LD).

Sharma, S., Markham, C., Chow, J., Pomeroy, M., & Raber M. (October 2015). Efficacy of Brighter Bites: a School-Based Food Co-op Intervention. Poster presentation at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA.

Sharma, S., Markham, C. Helfman, L., Albus, K., Chuang, R.J., & Pomeroy, M. (May 2014). Feasibility and acceptability of Brighterbites, a program increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrition education among low-income children and their families. Poster presented at the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Albus, K., Sharma, S., Markham, C., Helfman, L., & Pomeroy, M. (May 2014). Process evaluation of Brighter Bites pilot study: A community-academic partnership promoting fruit and vegetable intake among low-income, minority populations. Oral presentation at the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS

Brighter Bites dissemination and scalability study across all Brighter Bites cities.

Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) with pregnant women, mothers, and infants. Collaborators: part of THRIVE coordinated efforts spearheaded by UT Physicians.

The impact of food insecurity on food shopping behaviors and dietary intake behaviors among Brighter Bites participants.

The impact of food insecurity on Brighter Bites families’ program attendance and participation.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

OUR SCIENCE ALLIANCE

Did someone say SALSA? 💃

Salsas are great recipes to add more fruits and veggies into your diet. Here are some festive and delicious salsa recipes to add to your recipe rotation:
🥭 Mango Tango Salsa
🌽 Black Bean & Corn Salsa
🧄 Poblano Salsa
🍉 Watermelon Salsa

➡️ For the full recipes check out our website https://brighterbites.org/recipes

#NationalSalsaMonth #WellnessWednesday #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Smoothies #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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🍊 Ever wondered why orange juice is the most popular fruit juice in America?

We think it's because of it's bright color, sweet taste, and it's health benefits! In honor of National Orange Juice Day, we are sharing a few facts about oranges:

🍊Oranges are sweet citrus fruits.
🍊These fruits have long growing seasons from autumn to spring.
🍊They come in many sizes and different shades of orange.
🍊These citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C.

#NationalOrangeJuiceDay #OrangeJuice #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Smoothies #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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❤️🍈🍎🥦
Cutest way to say "Thank you!" to our supporters, partners, volunteers, and friends? The artwork of our little Brighter Biters, of course!

🎨 Credit: Ms. Delacruz's 2nd grade class at Kruse Elementary in Houston

#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes #FreshProduce #EatHealthy #FoodIsMedicine #Fruits #Veggies #Vegetables #JoyOfFresh #HaveAPlant #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #WeAreBrighterBites
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This month, Brighter Bites is recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. At Brighter Bites, we love celebrating cultures through food! Tropical fruits like passion fruit, kumquats, dragon fruit, lychee, and pineapple and vegetables like bok choy, taro root, daikon radish, and Napa cabbage are native to Asian countries and are a delicious way to celebrate this rich culture.

#asianamericanpacificislanderheritagemonth #aapiheritagemonth
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Looking for a RAISIN to smile? 😃🍇

Our Triple Fruit Coleslaw will surely put a smile on your face! This is a kid favorite!!! 🎉

Have your kids involved in preparing this yummy recipe- they can measure out and mix together all of the ingredients.

For this delicious recipe go to our website ➡️ https://brighterbites.org/recipe/triple-fruit-coleslaw/

#NationalRaisinDay #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #VegetarianRecipe #BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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This #ThankfulThursday, we’d like to thank our partner Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for choosing Brighter Bites for a #HealthyKidsHealthyFamilies grant! Together, we have been able to accomplish some really great work in our Texas communities!💙

We've provided safe distributions to families in Texas and sent home prepacked boxes of produce containing more than 1,000,000 pounds of 85 different varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables during this quarter alone!

Additionally, Brighter Bites held 469 produce distributions attended by 14,733 unique families. While in our Brighter Bites schools, the teachers have taught 1,446 CATCH lessons to 46,222 students!
Thank you Blue Cross Blue Shield for helping keep our Brighter Bites families healthy!

#BrighterBites #BlueCrossBlueShieldOfTexas #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #nonprofit #partnership
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Cheers to brightening your day with a fresh and o so colorful smoothie! 🌞🍎

Smoothies are great recipes that your kids can help with in the kitchen. Have your kids wash the fresh produce, pour in the liquid, and push the blender button!

What better way to brighten up your day than with our Brighter Bites Smoothie? Here's the scoop➡️
🥕INGREDIENTS:
1 red beet, peeled and shredded
1 small apple, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
Handful of fresh or frozen berries, no sugar added
Handful of fresh kale, spinach, or other leafy greens
1 cup cold water

🍓DIRECTIONS:
Wash all fresh produce. Remove kale leaves from stem. Combine all ingredients in blender, and puree until smooth.

#WellnessWednesday #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Smoothies #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesInvolved
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Did you know?

🍈Each week, Brighter Bites provides families with 50-60 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with budget-friendly recipes and tip sheets to get kids cooking in the kitchen.

🍉While it costs a family $0 to participate in Brighter Bites, it also saves them approximately $35 each week on groceries.

👍According to research, by the end of just one year of Brighter Bites families will report:
• Healthier eating and snacking habits
• A significant, long-term increase in the amount of fresh produce consumed
• A significant decrease in the amount of added sugars consumed
• More scratch cooking and family meals
• Smarter grocery purchases

For just $15, you can ensure a family of four has enough fruits and vegetables for an entire month. Give $100 and sponsor a Brighter Bites family for six months, or $200 for a full year!

Head over to our website to help donate to our Brighter Bite communities ➡️ https://www.brighterbites.org/donate/

#HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #GetInvolved
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Tomorrow is National Zucchini Bread Day, and we've got the perfect recipe to celebrate! 🍞
Have you tried our Sweet Potato and Zucchini Muffins yet?
🧑‍🍳 This is a great recipe to get your kids in the kitchen this weekend! Have your children wash the fresh produce, measure ingredient, shred produce and spoon the batter into the molds. 👩‍🍳

See the full recipe on our website and GET BAKING! ➡️ https://brighterbites.org/recipe/sweet-potato-zucchini-muffins/

#NationalZucchiniBreadDay #ZucchiniMuffins #WeAreBrighterBites #Fruit #Veggies #EatHealthy #NutritionEducation #FreshProduce #NonProfit #FunFoodExperience #BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes
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We think our interns are kind of a FIG deal! 🌟

Intern with us!
🍎Brighter Bites offers unpaid internships to students and non-students interested in public health, nutrition, nonprofit work, and more! We invite you to join our program staff in the field or work behind the scenes building our brand and developing relationships. Our interns are exposed to all components of Brighter Bites to gain a well-rounded understanding of how a public health community nutrition nonprofit operates.

👉Brighter Bites is currently looking for a summer social media intern! 📱💻📸

Interested in applying for an internship opportunity? Check out our website for more information!
https://www.brighterbites.org/intern-with-us/

#HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesIntern #BBHouston #BBDallas #BBAustin #NutritionStudent
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Happy National Garlic Day! 🧄

Did you know that garlic contains a compound called allium that has health benefits such for the cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory, digestive, and detoxification systems in the body? So many reasons to enjoy this veggie!

Our Poblano Salsa is one of our favorite recipes featuring garlic! 😃 See the recipe on our website along with more recipes featuring garlic ➡️
https://brighterbites.org/recipe/poblano-salsa/

#NationalGarlicDay #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #VegetarianRecipe #BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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Happy Day of the Mushroom! 🍄

Today we share our delicious Turkey Mushroom Burgers, perfect to try this weekend! 🍄🍔Adding mushrooms to the ground turkey adds a ton of flavor and nutrition....and the best part is that your kids will never know you snuck in a veggie! Make dinner fun and let each family member pick a topping! Our favorite toppings are tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grilled onions, and avocado!

Find this recipe along with other delicious recipes on our website ➡️https://brighterbites.org/recipe/turkey-mushroom-burgers/

#DayOfTheMushroom #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesInvolved
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🍌Going BANANAS for #NationalBananaDay!🍌

We've got a PEELING that you'll like our Banana Ice Cream recipe! 😋
Get the whole family involved and have everyone pick their toppings! Here is the recipe➡️

INGREDIENTS:
10 very ripe bananas
½ cup low-fat milk
¼ cup honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:
Peel bananas and freeze overnight in a freezer bag. Remove the bananas from the freezer and blend in blender or food processor until smooth. Slowly add the remaining ingredients and blend until the bananas have a “frozen yogurt” consistency. (If you have an ice cream maker, pour mixture into maker and churn until there is an “ice cream” texture.) Serve immediately or store in the freezer for up to one week.

#NationalBananaDay #BananaIcecream #Fruit #EatHealthy #HealthyDessert
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Eat well & keep moving! 🥗🚴‍♀️
While eating lots of fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, being physically active is important too!👍
@who recommends that all healthy adults do 30 minutes/day of physical activity, and children should be physically active for 1 hour/day.

Here are some fun ideas to move around:
👟Have a friendly competition of jumping rope.
💃Have a dance party to your favorite music. 🕺
🚶‍♂️Play backyard games like tag or frisbee. 🚶‍♀️

#WellnessWednesday #HealthyAtHome #BeActive #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #CATCH
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