Marketing Nutrition: School Cafeteria Signage Resources

Healthy Food Choices in Schools December 23, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

fruit drawing

Some searching reveals an abundance of cafeteria signage resources from colorful posters to cute stickers. This page offers a snapshot of some of those resources both free and paid. According to the 6 guiding principles of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, making fruit and vegetable dishes appealing to students is a great way to increase selection and consumption of these healthy foods. Having fun, colorful signage and posters is a great way to increase appeal as well as give students the information they need to make health and informed decisions. 

If you have suggestions of school cafeteria signage resources that should be included in this page, please contact healthy_food_choices_in_schools@cornell.edu.

Reimbursable Meal Signage

USDA Offer vs. Serve Poster: This free printable poster guides students to select the appropriate components of a reimbursable meal. A landscape version is also available here.

MyPlate School Lunch Poster: This poster illustrates the 5 components of a school meal in the colorful MyPlate style and can be shipped to you, in the size of your choice, by the Institute of Child Nutrition.

Healthy Lunch Reimbursable Meal Identification System – This free kit includes downloadable posters, signs, and graphics. It was developed by Iowa Team Nutrition.

The Five Meal Components – offered in 4 different sizes, this poster can be printed directly from the Lunch Box website.

Reimbursable Meal Menu Templates – The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction developed several versions of a reusable menu poster that highlights what menu items correspond to which reimbursable meal component. Download the posters for free and laminate them for reuse.

Build a Healthy Lunch Reimbursable Meal Identification System – This free, downloadable tool kit created by Iowa Team Nutrition includes posters, signs and worksheets to help students with identifying and selecting a reimbursable meal.

Labels and Menus

Salad Bar Signs – the Lunch Box offers several downloadable resources for school salad bars including, Make a Rainbow Poster, tent signs reminding students of portion size and table manner etiquette, a salad bar ingredients list, and a salad bar menu sign.

Sample Fun Food Names for Middle Schoolers – the Smarter Lunchroom provides downloadable name cards that can be used to label healthy dishes with fun names for young students.

Sample Descriptive Food Names for High Schoolers - Smarter Lunchrooms Movement also provides downloadable cards that can be used to label healthy dishes with descriptive names for older students.

Special Events

Harvest of the Month Collector Cards –Printable cards created by the Lunch Box can be posted or handed out to students as educational tools during Harvest of the Month activities.

Breakfast Signage

Build a Healthy Breakfast! School Breakfast Signage – This toolkit created by Iowa Team Nutrition includes a menu template, sample sign, and sample labels for the different components of a reimbursable breakfast. Each resource can be downloaded and printed.

Launch Your Day With Breakfast (PDF) – This colorful Team Nutrition poster features cartoon characters and a message about eating breakfast. It can be downloaded and printed for free. Stickers with the same message can be downloaded here.

Breakfast Bulletin Board Resources – Team Nutrition also offers many other school breakfast resources that can all be printed and posted, including posters, flyers, and free to use clipart for making your own signage. 

General Nutrition Signage and Flyers

Team Nutrition Middle School Posters – These posters can be ordered or downloaded and are designed to empower middle school-aged students to make healthy food choices.

Team Nutrition Elementary School Posters – These healthy message posters are available for download or can be ordered and are geared towards elementary school-aged students.

MyPlate for Kids: Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables Poster* -- This free downloadable poster shows children how to fill their plate with half fruits and vegetables.

MyPlate Posters* – These free downloadable 20” x 16” posters depict the MyPlate Icon in 4 different colors.

MyPlate 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series-- These one-sided fact sheets are free to download and most are available in English and Spanish. There are several sheets that include tips for healthy eating and physical activity among other nutrition tips.

*Team Nutrition Schools have access to several posters and flyers that can be mailed free of charge directly to the school! A full list of these resources can be viewed here.

Stickers and Graphics

The Team Nutrition Graphics Library includes logos, clipart, and simple healthy messages that can be used in posters and flyers or printed as stickers.

Paid Services for Branding the Lunchroom

Descon Signage Solutions -- Descon Signage & Graphics are built for school food service use. Signage helps improve your marketing, branding and participation. They offer products for Nutrition Education, Menu Boards, Explain-A-Meal, Food Art, EZ-Tags, Banners, Design Packs and custom solutions. See an example of a banner created by Descon that was donated to for Action for Healthy Kids IL here.

Love Your Lunchroom – This company creates “energized & artistically appetizing Lunchrooms with Station Signs, LunchBoards, and Sign Kits & Graphics.” They work with existing institutional decor and political parameters that govern school cafeterias.

MealViewer – MealViewer creates digital signage available for the K-12 application including hardware, software, and auxiliary components, and installation.  

Display Tips

When displaying your new signage, keep in mind the height of the students. While there may be some very tall and very small middle schoolers, the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement recommends displaying signs at eyelevel of the average sized student.

Team Nutrition also recommends matching posters with events, rotating posters to stay fresh, and not cluttering walls with too many posters.

Finally, be sure to measure the space before printing and posting signage to make sure it will fit.

Happy decorating!


Contributors

Shirley Vouris R.D., L.D.N., Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion

Katie Baildon, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs  


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.