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

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.

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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Brighter Bites is creating demand for fresh produce🍐🍍🍅🥕🍑

Each week of programming, Brighter Bites sends home ~50 servings of fruits and veggies to the families we serve. We could not do this without the produce industry’s expertise, logistical know-how, and fresh product!

Have the produce expertise and want to be a part of our mission? We'd love to see how we can partner!➡️ https://brighterbites.org/produce-partners/

#BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesVolunteer
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Meet THREE amazing volunteers who have made an impact in the Austin community by volunteering with Brighter Bites!🤩

🥦 Judith has been volunteering with Brighter Bites since January 2021. She volunteers at 2 of our Austin school communities, she discovered us through Austin Acts of Kindness. Judith's favorite part of participating with Brighter Bites is seeing the smiling faces when she helps load cars with boxes of fresh produce.🍊

🍍 Rogelio has been volunteering with Brighter Bites for the past 8 weeks! He loves the feeling of being helpful through volunteering for Brighter Bites. His favorite fruits are pineapples and avocados. 🥑

🥭 Julie has been volunteering with Brighter Bites since Summer 2020. She helps us by making it easier to transport our fruits and vegetables for our walking families by putting their produce in bags. Her favorite part about volunteering with Brighter Bites is being able to interact with families during distribution. 😄

We are so grateful for these volunteers and more! Thank you for all that you do!

@brighterbitesaustin
#BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesHouston #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesVolunteer
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I don't know about you, but I love fruits and vegetables from my head TO-MA-TOES🍅!

This #NationalFreshTomatoDay, we are sharing our Black Bean & Corn Salsa. It's a salsa the whole family will enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
1 (15oz) can corn (no salt added)
1 (15oz) can black beans (no salt added)
6 Tomatoes 🍅
1 Bunch cilantro
4 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
2 Avocados

DIRECTIONS:
Drain corn and black beans and place in a bowl. Chop tomatoes and cilantro, then add to the beans and corn. Add lime juice, salt, and olive oil and mix. Lastly, cube and add avocados. Enjoy!

Download the recipe on our website ➡️ https://brighterbites.org/recipe/black-bean-corn-salsa/

#NationalFreshTomatoDay #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #VegetarianRecipe #BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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Got what it takes to be a Brighter Bites volunteer?

We have ✌️two ways that you can get involved!
Interested in getting your hands dirty and packing our boxes full of produce? Join us for a Produce Boxing! 📦🌽🥔🍋

Interested in helping us distribute produce boxes full of fresh fruits and vegetables to our families? Help us at a Produce Distribution! 🚗🚶‍♀️🥦

Visit our website to find the right volunteer shift for YOU!➡️ https://brighterbites.org/volunteer/

#BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesVolunteer
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Brighter Bites is creating communities of health through fresh food, and you can be a part of it! 🥦🍉🍊🥑🌽🍎

Looking to learn more, support our work, AND get cooking? Join us for our upcoming event!
It's a virtual, family-friendly culinary experience with Marcia Smart of @SmartintheKitchen and hosted by Brighter Bites’ Founder Lisa Helfman, Board Member Scott McClelland, and Houston Life Co-Host Courtney Zavala

What's on the menu? 😋
Strawberry Mojito (cocktail)
Spring Pea and Leek Tartine
Mixed Greens with Homemade Salad Dressing
Rigatoni Kale Pasta
Chocolate and Berry Board

This hands-on, stay-at-home event will benefit Brighter Bites’ critical work of providing fresh produce and nutrition education to nearly 30,000 families nationwide. There are a few ticket levels 🎟, so please visit our website and see how you'd like to join in on the fun! ➡️
www.brighterbites.org/smartinthekitchen

We can't wait to spend the evening with you! 🎉
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Who says healthy eating can't be fun? 🍊
Here at Brighter Bites, we believe that healthy eating should be fun! Our DC team is taking our distributions to whole new level of healthy and fun engagement. Here is a peek at some of the healthy characters that are popping up at our DC distributions!...Now that is what we call fun AND healthy!! 😄

🥒Our #TuesdayTip today is make healthy food fun! Kids eat with their eyes first, so make the plate colorful and fun, and don't be afraid to play with your food! The more engaged kids are with healthy foods, the more likely they are to try new things. 🥗

@BrighterBitesDC
#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesDC #TuesdayTip #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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