This study tests the hypothesis that fruits and vegetables taken on students' lunch trays are usable proxies for fruits and vegetables eaten, and that the proxy is useful with children in the youngest school grade (ie, grade 1; ages 6 to 8 years). A total of 1,168 randomly selected students in grade 1 and grade 3 (ages 8 to 10 years) in 26 schools in the Twin Cities, MN, metropolitan area were observed before and after an intervention that was applied to 13 randomly selected schools. Trained observers recorded food quantities on a child's tray and measured food consumed during the meal. Correlations between amounts of fruits and vegetables taken and eaten ranged from 0.74 to 0.96. The median correlation in grade 1 was the same, 0.82, as in the combined sample. Food taken and food eaten as alternative response variables resulted in the same conclusions about the effects of intervention. The hypothesis is strengthened that food taken can be used as a proxy for consumption in future nutrition education research.