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​Evaluating a program helps you to determine whether the program is effective and worthwhile. Follow the steps below to evaluate nutrition and food service changes.
  1. Develop Goals and Objectives
  2. Plan How to Measure Change
  3. Develop a Timeline
  4. Complete a Process Evaluation
  5. Evaluate your Program

1. Develop Goals and Objectives

Prior to beginning a center nutrition and food service program, your center should develop goals and objectives as well as a plan to measure progress. Remember, objectives should be SMART.
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-oriented
Sample Program Goals and Objectives

The following are suggestions for program goals and objectives. Change or add to these suggestions as necessary.

Goal #1: To offer healthier food to students.

Objective: Decrease fat served in cafeteria food.
  • The cafeteria will serve fried food no more than twice per week by June 30.
  • When averaged over the course of a week, hot food items will average less than 30% of calories from fat by June 30.
Objective: Increase fiber.
  • By June 30, at least five fresh fruits and vegetables will be served each day.
  • Whole grains, including whole wheat bread, pasta, and cereal, will be served at every meal by June 30.
Objective: Improve dairy/dairy alternative options.
  • Dairy alternatives such as Lactaid and soymilk will be available to students during every meal by June 30.
  • By June 30, when dairy products are served or used in dishes, these products will be low fat (skim or 1-2%) or part-skim at least 75% of the time.
Objective: Reduce sodium in foods.
  • Prepackaged item​s will be served no more than once per day by June 30.
Goal #2: Students will maintain a healthy weight or will move toward a healthy weight while at Job Corps.

Objective: During the first three months of the program, students' Body Mass Index (BMI) will decrease or will remain the same.

Note: When comparing BMI, compare the student's pre- and post- measurements to gauge his/her weight change.

Goal #3: Food service costs will be sustained while serving healthier food.

Objective: There will be less than a two percent food service cost increase between the month prior to nutrition changes and three months after changes have been implemented.

Goal #4: Students will enhance their nutrition knowledge.

Objective: At post-test, student scores on a knowledge-based nutrition assessment will improve by five percentage points.

Goal #5: Improve results on food service survey.

Objective: Student results on a food service satisfaction survey, delivered prior to food service changes and 3 months after implementation of changes, will improve by one point on a five-point scale.

Goal #6: Improve center environment and behaviors.

Objective: The number of incidents on center will decrease by five percent within the first three months of a nutrition program.

2. Plan How to Measure Change

Several assessment tools can be used to measure change. Refer to the Individual Assessment Tools below for more information.

3. Develop a Timeline

Consider creating a grid that will help you visualize nutrition changes and the evaluation process. A sample timeline is available.

4. Complete a Process Evaluation

A few months after you have begun to make changes, evaluate how those changes are working. This does not have to be a complete evaluation, but an informal assessment of how the nutrition changes are progressing. Decide which changes are working great and which have not been effective. Is everyone doing what he or she said they were going to do? Are there logistical challenges? Rethink the changes that have not worked at your center. Make any additional changes as you see fit.

5. Evaluate your Program

Revisit your goals and objectives. Were they met? If not, why not? If you are happy with the outcome of the program, continue with the changes, remembering to adapt to changes in student preferences. Now is a great time to move on to medium and large-scale changes or to make additional changes to the dining environment or other components of the food service program.

Individual Assessment Tools

The following assessments can be used by the center physician or other members of the wellness staff to gauge an individual student's dietary intake:

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