The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement is a research-based initiative focused on creating sustainable lunchrooms that help guide students to make smarter choices. The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement was established at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program and is funded by the USDA ERS/FNS. JSI has collaborated with the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement since 2012. In association with a Team Nutrition Grant, JSI has partnered with Smarter Lunchrooms to bring relevant professional development resources and technical assistance to fifty schools in Massachusetts since 2014, and the initiative will continue through June of 2016!
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health offered a Wellness Initiative for Student Success training opportunity. For this initiative School Wellness Teams utilized the School Health Index, the Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard, and the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP). Once the program is completed this year, the participating schools in MA will have the tools to apply for the HealthierUS School Challenge and Let’s Move Active Schools recognition, and are encouraged to sign up to become a USDA Team Nutrition School!
The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement provides an effective set of best practices meant to create an environment that encourages students to make healthful choices. The best practices listed below are easy, and inexpensive or free proven methods of increasing the number of students who make healthy choices in five key areas.
- Increase the number of students that select fruit –use signage and verbal prompts to attract attention to fruit and encourage students to take some.
- Increase the number of students that select targeted entrée –display creative age-targeted food item names on a poster or menu board outside the cafeteria.
- Increase the number of students that select vegetables –create a SNAC (Student Nutrition Action Committee) of students responsible for the naming of and creating signage for veggies.
- Increase the number of students that select reimbursable meals –create a health-items-only convenience line stocked with fruits, vegetables, premade sandwiches and salads and lowest-fat/lowest-sodium entrée items.
- Increase the number of students that select white milk –white milk should account for at least 1/3 of beverage options displayed in each cooler.