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

Looking for some healthy recipes to cook this Thanksgiving?
From apples and Brussels sprouts to potatoes and sweet potatoes, we've got you covered! Before you grocery shop, be sure to look at our healthy holiday sides for some delicious and nutritious bites for the whole family!
• Apple Cake
• Crafty Mac 'n Cheese
• The Perfect Pear and Brussels Sprouts Salad
• Sautéed Brussels Sprouts w/ Apples and Pecans
• Sneaky Mashed Potatoes
• Sweet Potato Harvest Salad
And so many more recipes on our website made for YOU!
https://brighterbites.org/recipes/

#brighterbites #recipeoftheday #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking #thanksgivingrecipes #healthysides #JoyofFresh #HaveaPlant
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“By giving kids access to fresh, nutritious food and showing them how to make the most of it, we help turn healthy habits into something even better: healthy lifestyles.” - Lisa Helfman, Founder

Brighter Bites is a nonprofit that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables directly into families’ hands. We teach them how to use it and track their behavior change. We make it fun. We make it free. And we make it happen via a simple, three-part formula: Produce Distribution + Nutrition Education + Fun Food Experience

This #ThankfulThursday we are so grateful for our Brighter Bites families and their loyalty in showing up to try new fruits and vegetables each week. Thank you, Brighter Bites families, for being a part of our community of health through fresh food!

#brighterbites #freshproduce #nonprofit #fruit #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking #HaveaPlant #JoyofFresh
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SPREAD the word! It's National Sandwich Day! 🥪
So, today we are sharing our favorite sandwich spread ➡️ Put-it-on-Anything Pesto. 🌿 We think you'll love it so much that you'll put it on anything! 😉
Full recipe below and up on our website! https://brighterbites.org/recipe/put-it-on-anything-pesto/

INGREDIENTS
• 7 cups of spinach
• ½ cup almonds, whole or crushed
• Juice of one lemon
• ¾ cup of leeks (white and pale green parts)
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ½ tsp salt
• ⅛ tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Thoroughly wash the leeks before using by slicing the leek and placing the sliced pieces into a bowl of water. Once the dirt is removed, dry the sliced leeks in a paper towel. Place the spinach, almonds, and lemon juice in the food processor. Process until finely chopped. Then, add all other ingredients and process until the pesto has a smooth texture. Serve as a spread on sandwiches, a sauce for pasta, a topping for grilled chicken, or as an appetizer with carrot sticks.

#brighterbites #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes #nationalsandwichday #pesto #recipeoftheday #healthyrecipes #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking
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No tricks here! Just healthy treats! 🍇🍌🍍🍓
Our DC team dressed up this week as fruits and veggies while distributing fresh fruits and veggies to our families, and we can't think of a better treat than that!
Hope you have a safe and healthy Halloween!
#brighterbites #nonprofit #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #healthyeating #healthytreats
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The SUNSET® Rocks Virtual Party is tomorrow night! We are looking forward to sharing our mission with the produce industry as well as enjoying a live concert from a big-name artist! 🎸🎶🎙 We are so thankful for the generous support of our event sponsors. Thank you @chelanfresh @calavogrowers @grimmwayfarms @goodfoods @yesapples !!

Interested to see who this year's big-name recording artist will be? Join us tomorrow, October 13 at 7:30PM EST!
Link to register in bio!
#sunsetrocksvirtualparty #brighterbites #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #partnership #sunsetgrown #inspiredbyflavor
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Thank you @earthfresh for being a matching sponsor for the upcoming SUNSET® Rocks Virtual Party is coming up next Tuesday, October 13! We are honored to be the nonprofit recipient of the event and to have the support of our sponsors!

Interested to see who this year's big-name recording artist will be? Join us next Tuesday, October 13 at 7:30PM EST!
Link to register in bio!
#sunsetrocksvirtualparty #brighterbites #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #partnership #sunsetgrown #inspiredbyflavor
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We are five days out from the SUNSET® Rocks Virtual Party! We are honored to be the nonprofit recipient of the event, and we are so grateful for our generous matching sponsor @sunkistcitrus !! 🍊 Thank you!!

Interested to see who this year's big-name recording artist will be? Join us next Tuesday, October 13 at 7:30PM EST!
Link to register in bio!
#sunsetrocksvirtualparty #brighterbites #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #partnership #sunsetgrown #inspiredbyflavor
...

The SUNSET® Rocks Virtual Party is coming up next Tuesday, October 13! We are honored to be the nonprofit recipient of the event, and we are privileged to have the generous support of our sponsors. Thank you @heb !!

Interested to see who this year's big-name recording artist will be? Join us next Tuesday, October 13 at 7:30PM EST!
Link to register in bio!
#sunsetrocksvirtualparty #brighterbites #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #partnership #sunsetgrown #inspiredbyflavor
...

We are beyond excited to be the nonprofit recipient of the SUNSET® Rocks Virtual Party happening next Tuesday, October 13! Not only do we get to share our mission with the produce industry through this event, but we also get to share a virtual concert experience! 🎤🎵🎶🎸 How exciting is that? Interested to see who this year's big-name recording artist will be? Join us next Tuesday, October 13 at 7:30PM EST!
Link to register in bio!
#sunsetrocksvirtualparty #brighterbites #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #partnership #sunsetgrown #inspiredbyflavor
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It's World Vegetarian Day, and we are sharing some of our favorite vegetarian dishes. 🍅🥦🌽🧅🥕So whether you are eating a vegetarian diet, fasting from meat, practicing "meatless Mondays", or simply looking to add more vegetables into your diet, we've got some recipes for you!
• Broccoli Cheddar Quiche
• Black-Eyed Peas Rainbow Salad
• Cauliflower Ceviche
• Zucchini Pizzas
For more these full recipes and more, visit our website www.brighterbites.org/recipes

#brighterbites #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes #worldvegetarianday #vegetarian #recipeoftheday #healthyrecipes #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking
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El Aro de Fruta