In 2009, the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program (B.E.N. Center) introduced the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM). The goal of this initiative is to implement simple, low and no-cost changes in the lunchroom to nudge kids to make nutritious choices and ultimately to improve participation in school lunch programs while decreasing waste.
SLM provides school cafeterias with 100, research-based best practices. Today SLM is in use in over 30,000 US schools, and its strategies are part of the USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge.
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, tips for getting started, and some testimonials of those who have successfully implemented SLM. All of this information is also available in a 2 page flyer that you can print and share with your colleagues to create enthusiasm for the program! Download the PDF here.
“Strategies like Smarter Lunchrooms give schools simple, actionable, low-cost steps that help make sure that the healthy food on kids’ plates ends up in their stomachs.”
Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture
“I really appreciate the partnership with the B.E.N. Center and the work Smarter Lunchrooms has done across this country to encourage children to eat healthier meals. What’s really beneficial is that the whole entire initiative has science to back it up.”
Katie Wilson, Deputy under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.
“We started implementing the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement techniques and we saw an increase in our fruit selections by putting those fruits at the point of sale. We’ve also seen an increase in the white milk ... so we are seeing choices made by the students have improved drastically.”
Melinda Bonner, Director of Child Nutrition-Hoover City Schools.
*Rural areas (census-defined rural territories that can be more than 10 miles from an urban cluster), Suburban areas (territories outside a principal city and inside urbanized area with populations of up to 250,000 or more), Urban areas (territories inside the urbanized area and inside a principal city with populations of up to 250,000 or more), and Towns (territories inside an urban cluster that can be more than 35 miles of an urbanized area).