Smarter Lunchrooms

Promote healthy eating behaviors with simple changes to the lunchroom environment at your school.

Smarter Lunchrooms: Ohio Project Summary 2013-2014 (PDF | 2.8 MB)

Ohio Department of Education; Office for Child Nutrition.

Goal one of the Smarter Lunchroom Project recruited partnerships with six Ohio universities to assist in the implementation of Smarter Lunchroom strategies and provide training developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. Goal two of the project collected evidence of effective Smarter Lunchroom strategies to assist with future trainings. Ohio’s Smarter Lunchroom Project began in January 2013 and was coordinated by the Ohio Department of Education – Office for Child Nutrition.

Innovative Strategies for Creating Smarter Lunchrooms in Montana High Schools (PDF | 3.42 MB)

Montana Team Nutrition. Montana Office of Public Instruction.

This poster was presented at the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior’s 2015 Annual Conference. In this project, Montana Team Nutrition shows how they applied Smarter Lunchroom strategies in high school cafeterias to decrease plate waste.

How Healthy Is Your School? (PDF | 4.1 MB)

Idaho State Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs.

This self-assessment manual guides school nutrition professionals in assessing their school environment in five key areas: (1) Smarter Lunchrooms, (2) School Breakfast Program, (3) Smart Snacks, (4) School Wellness, and (5) HealthierUS School Challenge.

Is Your School Ready to Take the HUSSC:SL Challenge? (2016) (410 KB)

Montana Team Nutrition. Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Use this easy-to-use checklist to determine if your school is ready to take the Healthier US School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC:SL) Challenge!

Creating Positive and Pleasant Mealtimes for Schools and Early Childhood Programs (2011)

Montana Team Nutrition.

This training resource addresses a variety of mealtime scenarios and tips for positive meal time practices. Materials include a video, poster, handouts, PowerPoint presentation, and recorded webinar. Separate resources are available for school professionals and child care providers.

Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Smarter Lunchrooms Movement

Cornell University. Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program.

Web site to equip school lunchrooms with evidence-based tools that improve child eating behaviors and thus improve the health of children. Includes 2 hour free training module, webinars, workbooks and more!

Smarter Lunchrooms Action Guide (January 2016) Smarter Lunchrooms Action Guide (January 2016) (3.29 MB)

Connecticut State Department of Education.

This document provides guidance for school nutrition programs on strategies to change the cafeteria environment and help students make healthy food choices. This guide is based on the B.E.N. Center's Smarter Lunchrooms principles, and reflects the experiences of six schools that participated in the Smarter Lunchrooms Makeover Pilot (SLMP) through Connecticut’s 2013 Team Nutrition grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs

Cornell University.

A resource to help researchers, Food Service Directors, and policy makers design sustainable research-based lunchrooms that subtly guide smarter choices.

Kansas – Healthier US School Challenge Webinar Series

Kansas State Department of Education.

KSDE Child Nutrition & Wellness has established a HUSSC webinar series to provide training webinars and accompanying resources to assist schools in meeting HUSSC requirements. This link goes to multiple recorded webinars on topics related to HUSSC:SL.

Ohio Smarter Lunchrooms (March 2016) Ohio Smarter Lunchrooms

Wright State University. Ohio Department of Education.

The Ohio Department of Education has collaborated with the Wright State University Public Health program to create a blog that identifies ways to encourage healthier eating within Ohio schools and the surrounding community. Please visit for ideas and resources that will promote a healthier lunchroom at your school.

Smarter Lunchrooms: Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Meal Selection (2009)

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Choices Magazine.

An overview of how behavioral economics helps lead to the selection and consumption of healthier foods and healthier quantities of food in the lunchroom.

ReFresh Toolkit (2010) (PDF | 4.48 MB)

Maryland State Department of Education. University of Maryland Extension.

A collection of resources to help school food service staff, teachers, and parents to support children's healthy eating habits in the school cafeteria. These resources are built on the "the nudge", an environmental cue that influences behavior change. The cafeteria environment provides multiple opportunities to influence healthy eating behaviors of children.

Lunch Line Redesign (October 2010)

New York Times.

Strategies that use behavioral psychology to coax children to eat better in the lunchroom without requiring drastic or expensive changes in school menus.

When Nudging in the Lunch Line Might Be a Good Thing (March 2009)

USDA. ERS. Amber Waves.

This article discusses the use of behavioral economic concepts to encourage healthy eating in school cafeterias.

Nudging Your Students (PDF | 307 KB)

Minnesota Department of Health.

Two page handout of quick tips for "nudging" students toward healthy options in the cafeteria.

Food and Brand Lab YouTube Channel

Cornell University.

These videos provide quick tips from the Smarter Lunchroom Movement and are great as part of an in-service or other training.