Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Nourishing the Future: Staff Skill Development to Integrate Scratch Cooking in School Cafeterias

Escribano, Carla (2024) Nourishing the Future: Staff Skill Development to Integrate Scratch Cooking in School Cafeterias. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


Despite policy changes and guidelines within the school food environment, many U.S. youth continue to have poor diet quality. This dissertation aimed to implement a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle to address the problem of the school lunch menu offerings, primarily consisting of pre-cooked and ready-to-eat foods. The intervention involved a single training session for five food service staff members from two elementary schools on preparing scratch meals. The goal was to provide two scratch meals per week for the first two weeks of a five-week rotational cycle on the lunch menu. Three inquiry questions guided the study: 1) How did integrating more scratch meals in the school lunch menu impact student meal participation? 2) How did participating in a brief training impact food service staff’s confidence and skills in preparing scratch meals? And 3) Post-implementation, what were staff perceptions of the initial training and implementation process to integrate more scratch meals on the menu? The study utilized pre- and post-school lunch meal sales data, surveys, and a focus group with food service staff. Meal sales data were analyzed for changes in student participation, while surveys assessed staff confidence. Focus group transcripts underwent qualitative analysis. Results showed mixed effects on meal sales, with some recipes maintaining sales while others decreased. Surveys indicated increased staff confidence in their scratch cooking skills post-training. However, staff described barriers such as time constraints and labor shortages in the focus group. Overall, preliminary support was found for integrating scratch meals into the menu without affecting student meal participation. Further research is needed to explore student and parent acceptance of new menu items. Comprehensive training and support mechanisms are vital for successful integration, considering barriers like union issues and financial constraints.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Escribano, Carlacfe8@pitt.educfe8
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoss, Sharon E.seross@pitt.eduseross0000-0002-3556-598X
Committee MemberCrowley,
Committee MemberMcDonnell,
Date: 15 May 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 March 2024
Approval Date: 15 May 2024
Submission Date: 4 April 2024
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 83
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: School lunch Scratch cooking Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle Diet quality Food service staff Meal participation Training program Meal sales data Student nutrition Dietary patterns School food environment Pre-cooked foods Ready-to-eat foods Staff confidence Skill development Implementation process Qualitative analysis Barriers Sustainability Policy changes School Nutrition Dietitian processed foods ready to eat poor diet
Date Deposited: 15 May 2024 19:45
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 19:51


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item