In my last rotation with WVU dining services, I was able to choose a new food item, recipe, or something of the like to implement and write a report on. I decided to provide a smoothie bar during breakfast hours for those students in Evansdale Cafe. The project included planning, food costing, advertising, implementing, writing a literature review, and writing a 16-page summary of the quality improvement project. While this was several weeks ago, I thought I’d pass along some of what I came up with, because it was a fun project to be a part of. The staff at WVU were extremely helpful in every aspect of the project– letting me take creative reigns, printing off customer counts, invoice orders, ordering the food, helping with set-up, tear-down, and even working next to me during the busy 2 hours, running the second blender. I am very grateful that the staff at WVU are so willing to help – they definitely care about their dietetic interns!
Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet as they contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are beneficial for heart health, digestive health, and more. However, less than 23% of Americans are consuming the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.1 In fact, a study by Steven E. Shive found that students at a community college have a typical fruit intake of 1.7 servings a day.2 By providing students at WVU with a smoothie bar during breakfast hours, it creates the opportunity for students to increase their fruit intake that day by 1-2 servings. A smoothie bar was planned and was implemented on Friday, September 28th from 7:30-9:00am and served approximately 80 students. Students were able to design their own smoothie or choose one of the three smoothies shown on signs with nutrition facts attached. Peaches, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries could be mixed with vanilla soy milk, 2% milk, orange juice, and yogurt. Each smoothie took less than a minute to make and the smoothie operation worked well with two employees running the blenders and taking orders. There were approximately 5.5 labor hours involved and the average food-cost of a smoothie made was $1.165. Feedback from the students was positive, as many students lined up early, gave positive comments, asked if the smoothie bar was permanent, and were happy to have something different, unique, and nutritious on a weekday morning. If there is enough staff available to run the smoothie bar, I would recommend keeping it in rotation several times a month.
Signage for Smoothies <– Check out a PDF of the sign I made for the smoothie bar, which explains how to order and shows all the ingredients available.
Smoothie Nutrition Facts <– I analyzed the smoothies for their nutrients and made signs that displayed the nutrition facts for 3 different smoothies — Triple Berry (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry), Peach-Raspberry, and Strawberry-Banana.
Working the smoothie bar on Friday morning. Set-up took about an hour for one employee (me)– thankfully all the food and supplies were organized on carts in the dry storage, walk-in cooler, and walk-in freezer the day before, so set-up in the morning went “smoothly”…haha
Making one of the approximately 80 smoothies we made that day. The first people to get a smoothie at 7:20am were a group of WVU student-athletes who had just finished with an early morning practice.
This project also involved taking into account food safety rules and regulations – dairy products were stored in tubs of ice to keep below 45 degrees F; employees wore hair restraints, aprons, gloves, and properly washed their hands; serving utensils were used; and the smoothie bar was located within 25 feet of a hand-washing station.
The most popular smoothie was the strawberry-banana smoothie. We used about 10 pounds of strawberries that morning and about 35 bananas!
- Brown, B.J., & Hermann, J.R. (2005). Cooking classes increase fruit and vegetable intake and food safety behaviors in youth and adults. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 37(2), 104-105. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=17041069&site=ehost-live
- Shive, S. E., & Morris, M. N. (2006). Evaluation of the energize your life! social marketing campaign pilot study to increase fruit intake among community college students. Journal of American College Health, 55(1), 33-39. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=21558776&site=ehost-live