Objective: To evaluate the nutritional composition of worksite canteen lunches and to examine the impact of two meal serving systems on employee intake, i.e. buffet style with a fixed price for a varied number of dishes and A la carte style with a separate price for each item on the menu. Design: Laboratory technicians observed employees' food selection and collected identical dishes. Food items were weighed separately to calculate the content of fruit and vegetables. The content of protein, fat and ash of each dish was chemically analysed and the carbohydrate and energy content calculated. Setting: Fifteen randomly chosen worksite canteens in Denmark: eight canteens serving buffet style and seven canteens with an A la carte line. Subjects: one hundred and eighty randomly chosen employees having lunch at the worksite canteens. Results: The average percentage energy from fat was 37 +/- 12 among men and 33 +/- 12 among women. No association was found between the meal serving system and energy intake or macronutrient composition. Eating at canteens serving buffet style, on the other hand, was associated with an increased intake of fruit and vegetables, on average 76 g, and a lower energy density of the food for both genders. Conclusion: The results highlight the possibilities of promoting healthy food choices in the catering sector and the need to identify models of healthy catering practice. Serving buffet style appears to be a promising strategy in order to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in food served away from home.
- dietary intake
- energy density