With funding and enthusiastic support from the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition (JSI) is pleased to extend the Smarter Lunchrooms initiative to 25 new schools across the Commonwealth for the 2016-2017 school year. Since May 2015, over 50 Massachusetts schools joined and successfully participated in this program.
The 25 participating schools will receive hands-on technical assistance from a Smarter Lunchrooms Certified Coach. The coach will visit each school and provide:
- One 3-hour initial visit to complete a Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard. During this visit, the coach will take photos of the current lunch set-up, present a 30-minute Smarter Lunchrooms training for staff and work with each school to create a Smarter Lunchrooms plan of action.
- One 2-hour follow-up visit to repeat the Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard and take follow-up pictures of all lunch service changes. The coach will also collect production records and help evaluate each school’s success.
The 2015-2016 program’s success is encouraging as the next wave of this program is about to begin for more Massachusetts schools. For the 2015-2016 program, on average, Smarter Lunchrooms scores increased by 30 percent, fruit sales increased by 9 percent and vegetable sales increased by 51 percent.
To achieve these results, schools implemented simple changes in how they presented food and educated students on healthy food options. Schools used creative engagement tools such as labeling daily fruit options with innovative names, designed signage to call attention to healthy selections and used student surveys to inform future recipe development. Take a look at a few of the low-cost Smarter Lunchroom strategies implemented by schools in Massachusetts.
Whole fruit options are displayed in attractive bowl or baskets at Litwin Elementary School in Chicopee, MA.
Student groups are involved in creation of artwork promoting menu items at Barrows Elementary School in Reading, MA.
Milton High School in Milton, MA dedicates a menu board to feature the next day’s menu to get students excited about food options.
To find additional information about Smarter Lunchrooms, please visit this post from the USDA blog and these useful links in JSI’s Smarter Lunchrooms category in the JSI Resource Center.