Encouraging kids to select and enjoy healthy foods doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Choose one option from each of the following principles developed by the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement to create a customized, effective, low-cost or no-cost makeover for your lunchroom for well under $50. Worried about doing too much too fast? Try one at a time and see what works in your lunchroom.
To Increase the Number of Students Who Select Fruit:
- Display fruit in 2 locations per line, at least one of which is near the register.
- Display whole fruits in an attractive bowl or basket instead of a steel trays.
- Use signs and verbal prompts to draw attention to fruit and encourage kids to select them.
To Increase the Number of Students Who Select Vegetables:
- Give veggies creative or descriptive names. Display name signs beside the veggies.
- Display the creative, age-appropriate names on menu boards outside the cafeteria.
- Create a Student Nutrition Action Committee (SNAC) and make them responsible for creating veggie names and signage.
To Increase the Number of Students Who Select Targeted Entrees:
- Make the entree with the greatest nutrient density the first or most prominent in line (ask the school dietitian to help determine nutrient dense foods).
- Give targeted entrees creative and descriptive names. Display name signs beside the entrées.
- Display the creative entrée names on a placard or menu board outside the cafeteria.
Katherine Baildon, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs
“Best Practices Implementation Guide” Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs' Smarter Lunchroom Movement
Photo by USDA / CC BY http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/