Smarter Lunchrooms


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



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)

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.


How Healthy Is Your School?

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.


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.
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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.


Smarter Lunchrooms Resources (2014-2016)

Iowa Department of Education.

Resources include presentation slides, self-assessment scorecard, cues for positive communication, and a best practice and implementation guide.


Nudging Your Students

Minnesota Department of Health.

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


Comfortable Cafeterias Webinar (2013) Comfortable Cafeterias Webinar (2013)

Iowa Team Nutrition.

Tips for proving an atmosphere that encourages students to select healthy foods choices. Webinar Slides(November 2013) and a Mealtime Philosophy Poster(November 2013) are also available.


Smarter Lunchrooms Training Videos and Smarter Lunchrooms in a Flash

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

WI TN developed a series of Smarter Lunchroom training webinars. The training webinars included an overview of behavioral economics, Smarter Lunchroom strategies, and action planning. In addition, a "Smarter Lunchrooms in a Flash" series of webinars were developed to assist schools with implementing one specific Smarter Lunchroom technique.


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.


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.