A Smarter Lunchroom is one that nudges students towards selecting and eating nutritious foods. Over 30 million children are fed by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). We believe that this program is an opportunity for kids to select and consume a balanced diet. The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement applies research-based principles that lead children to make healthy choices when provided with the full spectrum of choice.
The strategies that the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement endorses have been studied and proven effective in a variety of schools across the nation. The Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (B.E.N. Center) started the movement by applying research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab to school lunchrooms. This lab has been reformed as the Institute for Behavioral Economics and Consumer Choice (IBECC) at Cornell University.
The documents below catalog research support for Smarter Lunchrooms strategies.
- Annotated Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard Literature Review
- External Scholars Contributing to Smarter Lunchrooms Research
- Short Version Smarter Lunchrooms Annotated Bibliography of Non-Cornell Research
Some recent research findings:
Awareness of Smarter Lunchrooms is growing! Awareness almost doubled from 2014 to 2015 (22% to 42%).
Thousands of schools are using Smarter Lunchrooms strategies: Over 29,000 schools are using Smarter Lunchrooms strategies.
Smarter Lunchrooms trainings have wide reach: Three times as many Food Service Directors received training on Smarter Lunchrooms in 2015 than in 2014.
Smarter Lunchrooms trainings are working: 94 % of Food Service Directors make a change as a result of Smarter Lunchroom Training.
Being a member of professional organization results in more changes: Members of a professional organization such as SNA or AND are 11% more likely to have heard of Smarter Lunchrooms, twice as likely to have attended a training, and they make 33% more Smarter Lunchrooms changes.
Students eligible for free and reduced priced lunch are being reached: The average school implementing Smarter Lunchrooms strategies has at least 45% of students eligible for free and reduced priced lunch.
Use of 5 key Smarter Lunchrooms strategies is increasing: Implementation of 5 key Smarter Lunchrooms strategies increased from 2014-2015.