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

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.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

Just your daily reminder to EAT THE RAINBOW!🍅🍑🍋 🥦🫐🍇

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables helps ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need to stay healthy!

🎨cred: Art class at PS151K in NYC

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #HealthyEating
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Selfie, but make it healthy...a healthfie? 😆🥕🤳

@brighterbitesdc
#NationalSelfieDay #BrighterBites #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience
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Today, we celebrate fathers! From our Brighter Bites families to volunteers to school staff to our very own Brighter Bites staff, we are so grateful for all that you do, dads! Happy Father's Day!💙

#HappyFathersDay
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Today we pause to commemorate Black history, culture, and freedom through celebration and reflection of what today represents. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and celebrate this day of freedom, emancipation, and liberation.
#Juneteenth #FreedomDay
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Thank you to the Community Foundation of Collier Country for your support of our programming Southwest Florida! Through your support, we have been able to serve over 1,000 families 266,670 POUNDS of fresh fruits and veggies at six schools in Collier County over the course of the 2020-2021 school year! 🥝🍍🥦🌽🍅

@brighterbites_swfl
#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesSWFL #ThankYou #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience
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It's Eat Your Vegetables Day, and we'd say that calls for a party! 🎉🎤💃🕺

What vegetable makes you want to turn up the BEET!? 🥦🥒🌽🍆🍅

🎨cred: Ms. Davila's 3rd Grade class at Kruse Elementary in Houston, Texas

#BrighterBites #EatYourVegetablesDay #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #HealthyEating
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Trying to encourage your kids to eat more fruits and veggies? Here's our favorite PEACH of advice!🍑
Have your kids get hands on in the cooking! Not only are you helping build their confidence and self-esteem, you are also encouraging interest in trying new foods. When kids help out in the kitchen, they have a better sense of where their food comes from and are proud of what they create.
The best part is get both quality time and a delicious meal! 🍽

#BrighterBites #KidsInTheKitchen #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking
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Brighter Bites is rooted in the belief that if we give our kids something better to munch on, they will. And the lives they lead will be as vibrant as the foods they crave.🍍🍎🌽🥕

Brighter Bites has been creating communities of health through fresh food since 2012. Join us in our mission today! ❤️🤝
Volunteer, Intern, Donation, Partnership opportunities and more are on our website➡️ www.brighterbites.org

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables #NutritionEducation #Nonprofit #Volunteer
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Ever wonder how a Superhero fuels his/her body? With fruits and veggies, of course! 🥕🍓🍌🥦

🏃‍♂️ This #GlobalRunningDay, we want to remind you that eating fruits and vegetables is an important part of a fueling and supporting a healthy and active lifestyle!

Eating the right kind of foods before and after physical activity can help kids perform their best...like Superhero Strawberry pictured above! Here are some tips!:
• Eat a healthy breakfast to start the day off with energy. Whole-grain cereals or whole-grain muffins and fruits provide the body with carbohydrates for energy.
• Eat lean protein after exercising to help the body recover. Protein is an important nutrient that repairs and builds muscles.

🎨cred: Ms. Szalkowski's 3rd grade class at 212 in New York City

#BrighterBites #NationalFreshFruitandVegetablesMonth #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #HealthyEating
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Happy National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month! 🥦🍓🍊🍌🌽

We hope you love fresh fruits and veggies just as much as they love you! Did you know that eating a variety of fruits and veggies helps to ensure that your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs?

How do you like to eat your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables? Let us know below! ⬇️

#BrighterBites #NationalFreshFruitandVegetablesMonth #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #HealthyEating
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Wishing everyone a Happy Memorial Day! ❤️🤍💙

On #MemorialDay, we honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
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☀️Shining the light on a superstar volunteer in Southwest Florida!

Yuridia has been a dedicated volunteer with our Southwest Florida team for THREE years now! After a long day at work she still manages to have energy to help load produce boxes into our Brighter Bites families vehicles. Yuridia's favorite fruit is grapes! 🍇

Thank you BERRY much, Yuridia and all of our Florida volunteers! 🍓

@BrighterBites_SWFL
#BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesSWFL #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesVolunteer
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ZOOMing in on what our Austin team has been up to! 💻🔍🤩

Our staff and interns have been hosting virtual cooking classes/demos for all of our 18 schools! 👩‍🍳

We had great turnout for the April demos where the team and kids & families who joined made Hulk Smoothies together and then learned about how to cook with more leafy greens. For the May demos, the team focused on making healthy desserts, including fruity parfaits, beet brownies, and banana ice cream! YUM!!
@brighterbitesaustin

#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesAustin #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables
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El Aro de Fruta