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    • PI: Dr. Marietta Orlowski
  • Wright State University
  • Title:
    Dress Your Dog – A Vegetable Topping Project
  • Key Findings
    The purpose of this pilot project was to pair vegetable-based toppings with popular menu entrées. Ballpark Frank menu day introduced a Chicago Dog with cucumber and tomato relish and a Fenway Dog with baked beans and coleslaw. Pizzazz your Pizza menu day introduced a Double Pepper Power Pizza with green and banana peppers and the Southwest Pizza with Pico de Gallo and corn salsa. Overall, students were very receptive to vegetable-based toppings – vegetable popularity, though, varied by cafeteria. In the two schools that implemented the topping project, vegetable selection increased:
    • 42% to 48% of students who purchased a hot dog also selected either a cucumber relish or baked-bean/coleslaw topping with their hotdog.
    • 30% to 37% of students who purchased a pizza also selected either green/banana pepper or salsa topping with their pizza.
    • In one school with complete post data, the percentage of students who ate at least one-quarter cup of vegetables with their lunch increased from 25.2% to 38.5%.
    Improvements in vegetable consumption are likely to come from a combination of strategies that have collective appeal to a range of student interests. The small changes in vegetable consumption indicate that suggested vegetable-based toppings could be one of those strategies.
  • Publications (project findings included in the publication):
    Orlowski, M., Lee, M., Spears, W., Narayan, R., Pobocik, R. S., Kennel, J., Krafka, E. and Patton, S. (2017). Patterns in Vegetable Consumption: Implications for Tailored School Meal Interventions. Journal of School Health, 87: 346–352. doi: 10.1111/josh.12504


  • Appealing toppings, suggestive names and prime placement of the topping with an entrée were important elements of the plan. Toppings were scored on freshness, color, texture, smell and serving size.