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

Brighter Minds Start with Brighter Bites!💡🍎
Give the gift of produce and nutrition education today!
www.justgiving.com/campaign/brighterbites

#BrighterMindsBrighterBites
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Teamwork makes the dream work! 🤩 Our Houston team is ready to serve, and we are so grateful for our volunteers who come and make it happen! 👏👏

Interested in joining? Sign up today! brighterbites.org/volunteer

@brighterbiteshou #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesHouston #Nonprofit #Volunteer
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Showing lots of love to @HEB for your partnership and your generosity in donating to our program! Thank you for continuing to support our work in creating communities of health through fresh food!

#ThankfulThursday #BrighterBites #HEB #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables
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The results are in from the @Target Circle Guest-Directed Giving program!
We are excited to share that guests at Target stores cast 92,424 votes to Brighter Bites, resulting in a generous donation from Target to Brighter Bites! Most importantly, thank you for voting for our mission and the impact we have on the community!
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We are CRAZY for coconuts! 🥥🥥🥥Coconut water, coconut milk, shredded coconut, coconut meat, and more! 🧉🥛🍛🍚🍨How do you like to eat coconut?

@brighterbitesaustin #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesAustin #Coconut #Coconuts #FreshProduce
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We are getting closer to our goal of $50,000, and we need YOU to help us meet our goal!
Every dollar of our Brighter Minds Start with Brighter Bites campaign goes directly to serve our families with fresh produce, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools! Join our mission today!➡️
www.justgiving.com/campaign/brighterbites

#BrighterMindsBrighterBites
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Today, on Indigenous Peoples' Day we commend the rich history, culture, and people of the Native American/Indigenous community. On this day, let us all acknowledge the contributions of indigenous people and celebrate!

#IndigenousPeoplesDay
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Kiwi always brings us the good fuzzy feelings! 😉💚
What fruit makes you smile?

Thank you @imperfectfoods for this delicious and sweet donation!

#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesAustin #FreshProduce #Fruits #Kiwi
@brighterbitesaustin
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🌅Sunshine is in the forecast for our Brighter Bites distributions in Southwest Florida!
Thank you @publix Super Market Charities for your generous donation in support of our program to deliver produce to the families we serve! Your donation makes a bright impact!

@brighterbites_swfl #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesSWFL
#ThankfulThursday #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #Nonprofit
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Are you ready to make an impact?
Your donation provides families with direct access to fresh fruits and vegetable, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools. Join our campaign today!
www.justgiving.com/campaign/brighterbites

#BrighterMindsBrighterBites
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All smiles, all the time! 😃🍅
What fruit or veggie makes you smile?

#WorldSmileDay #BrighterBites #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables
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Brighter Bites is making BIG impact across the country, and we want you to join us! 🤩 Did you know that your donation makes a direct impact on our families?

Your donation of $25, $50, $100 goes toward providing direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools for families nationally!

We are getting closer to our goal of raising $50,000! For every dollar donated until October 31st, it will be matched up to $50,000. Donate today and be a part of our mission to create communities of health through fresh food this school year! 🍓🥑🍊🥭

Link in bio on how you can give!
#BrighterMindsBrighterBites #BrighterBites #BackToSchool2021
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Is there anything sweeter than homemade pancakes? Homemade sweet potato pancakes! 🥞🍠

See for yourself! ➡️ https://brighterbites.org/recipe/sweet-potato-pancakes/
#NationalPancakeDay #SweetPotatoPancakes #BrighterBites #HealthyRecipe #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #FreshProduce #Vegetables
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Did you know that a healthy diet can impact a student's academic performance, energy, and focus?

Let's get this school year off to a healthy start for kids across the country! Your donation makes a direct impact on the families we serve-Brighter Bites provides free access to fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools to thousands of families across the country.

We cannot wait to partner with you in our mission of creating communities of health through fresh food! Link in bio!

#BrighterMindsBrighterBites #BrighterBites
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Looking for some healthy lunchbox ideas? We've got you covered! 🍱🥪🍎

Easy, portable lunchbox ideas ➡️
• Sandwiches or rollups using peanut butter or lean deli meat like turkey on a whole wheat pita 🥙
• String cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled egg, hummus, and tuna salad are great snacks 🧀🥚
• Easily-transportable fruits and veggies: apples, bananas, baby carrots, celery sticks,
cherry tomatoes, grapes, or berries 🍎🍌🍇
• Almonds or other nuts and dried fruit make an energy packed and nutritious treat 🥜

#HealthyLunchbox #BackToSchool2021 #BrighterBites #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables
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El Aro de Fruta