The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S.


Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Benjamin N. Witts

Second Advisor

Eric Rudrud

Third Advisor

Kimberly Schulze

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

food choice, nutrition, NuVal(R), substitutability


To increase healthy food choices, research must examine those variables that influence food choice. These variables include preference between two options and the substitutability of those options. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the NuVal® System on food choice by evaluating food choices across two alternating meal conditions while considering preference and substitutability. Results from seven participants indicated that food choice across the meal conditions did not significantly change as a function of the NuVal® System, despite changes in preferences and participant rankings of the substitutability of the food options. A visual and statistical analysis of the data indicated that the NuVal® System did not effectively improve the overall healthfulness of each of the participants’ meals. Suggestions for future research are provided, and include single case, longitudinal studies that examine changes in preference and substitutability of certain food items over time.


I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my thesis advisor, Dr. Benjamin Witts, whose ideas, expertise, humor, and infuriating perfectionism have assisted me in completion of this final product. It has been 14 months of writing, research, and editing, and I am beyond thankful for his patience and attention to detail. I would also like to thank my committee member, Professor Eric Rudrud for his contributions, and T. J. Larum for his lab assistance.

I want to thank my father for the many evenings spent reading and editing this document. I also want to thank my mother for her time spent roaming the grocery store examining NuVal® scores and her assistance carrying and counting the many groceries. Lastly, I want to thank my grandfather who passed away while I was conducting research. Since then, I have thought of him every time I worked on this project. Knowing that he would be excited and proud of me has pushed me to persevere. Though he never cared much about nutrition, this thesis is for him.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.