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Smarter Lunchroom

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What is the Smarter Lunchroom Movement?
In an effort to support schools with new nutrition standards for schools, which require increasing the availability, variety and quantity of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat- free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals all these changes, the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs has assembled a set of best practices targeting the environment of the school cafeteria to influence and shape healthy eating behavior among the students.  This set of best practices are based on emerging discipline of behavioral economics that combine the behavioral models of psychology with the decision models of economics to help lead students to the selection and consumption of healthier foods.  This new approach is called Smarter Lunchroom Movement (SLM) which is designed to improve school meal participation and profits while decreasing waste by using environmental cues such as better product placement and using creative names for healthier foods.  Smarter Lunchroom Movement provides low cost/no-cost solutions and sustainability strategies include moving and highlighting more nutritious food groups such as fruits and vegetables to make them more accessible to students, highlighting the entrée on the lunch line, and implementation of healthy choices lines. 

Smarter Lunchroom Best Practices
Increasing the number of students that select FRUITS

  1. Employ signs and verbal prompts to draw attention to fruit and encourage students to take some: Read More

  2. Display the whole fruit: Read More

  3. Display fruit near the register: Read More

Video
Fruit Up Front
Increasing the number of students that select VEGETABLES

  1. Create a SNAC (Student Nutrition Action Committee) of students responsible for the naming of and creating signage for veggies.  Read More 

  2. Display the creative/descriptive age-targeted names on a poster or menu board outside the cafeteria: Read More

  3. Give vegetables creative names: Read More

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Tips for varying your veggies, variety is the key in Mirepoix
Increasing the number of students that select Targeted ENTREE

  1. Display the creative/descriptive age-targeted names on a poster or menu board outside the cafeteria: Read More

  2. Give targeted entrees creative/descriptive age-targeted names and display the names on cards next to or with the targeted entrees on the serving line.  Read More

  3. Make the entrée with the grates nutrient density the first of most prominent in line.   Read More

Video
Name That Meal
Increasing the number of students that select REIMBUSABLE MEALS

  1. Create a healthy-items-only convenience line or window stocked with all types of healthy foods: milk, fruits, veggies, premade sandwiches and salads, and lowest-fat/lowest-sodium entrée items.  Read More

  2. Move all “competitive foods” (chips, cookies, etc.) behind the serving counter in the regular lunch line so they are available by request only.  Read More  

  3. Place the components of a reimbursable meal at the snack window.  Add a Reimbursable meal “grab-and-go” bag to the window.  Make the entrée with the grates nutrient density the first of most prominent in line.   Read More

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Display a Sample Meal to Boost Service and Customer Satisfaction

Increasing the number of students that select WHITE MILK

  1. Make sure white milk accounts for at least 1/3 of drinks displayed in each cooler Read More

  2. Place white milk in every cooler in the lunchroom: Read More  

  3. Place white milk in the front of the cooler, in front of or before the sugar-added beverages: Read More

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Smarter Lunchroom Makeover

Getting Started with the Smarter Lunchroom Movement

  1. Complete the Smarter Lunchrooms Score Card.  This tool will help you evaluate your lunchroom, congratulate yourself for things you are doing well, and identify areas you can make even better.

  2. Gather some information before and after you introduce Smarter Lunchroom techniques. The types of data available in your lunchroom include three Types of Data: Video       

    1. Production records: Amount food prepared and served.

    2. Sales records: Able to track particular items that students purchase over time.

    3. Tray waste: Allows you to see what students are actually eating.

Tray Waste Measurement
Organizing Tray Waste Team
Tray Waste Data Collection Tutorial

For more information about the Smarter Lunchrooms movement, visit http://smarterlunchrooms.org/ 

For questions about Nebraska Smarter Lunchrooms, contact Zainab Rida at zainab.rida@nebraska.gov