Penn State Logo Fast cafeteria lines help students make healthier choices, or at least the following article suggests so. Scientists from the Penn State assert that middle school menus equipped with fast cafeteria lines have students making healthier food choices. It is predicted that when pressed for time with multiple food choices, students opt for foods that are familiar and popular.

At the time of the study, authors designed a fast service lane option for school cafeterias with limited food choices, called ‘meal deals.’ Students are free to select a main dish from limited options, but most of the side selections would be predetermined. Such a strategy probably declines the time that students spend in the lunch lane and encourage them to chose fast lanes more often. Data from students, parents, administrators and food service personnel will be gathered for analyzing the food choices made by students.

The achieved information will be taken into consideration to develop food combinations for the fast service lane. Once the food combinations are selected and the fast service lane is in place, experts will be collecting data on fast lane use and food combination sales for two or three weeks. The sales of the meal deals will probably continue for a week after the experiment to determine if students continue making healthy food choices.

Amit Sharma, assistant professor; Martha Conklin, associate professor, hospitality management and colleagues believe that the fast service lane concept is beneficial for schools.