Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California

We all agree that it’s not nutrition until students eat or drink it! A smartly run lunchroom nudges students toward making better choices on their own by changing the way the food choices are presented. Join us to discover low or no-cost ways to promote the consumption of healthy school lunch options and reduce plate waste, using the evidence-based principles and practices of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California!

What is a Smarter Lunchroom?

A Smarter Lunchroom is one that influences kids towards choosing healthier, more nutritious foods, giving kids an opportunity to select and consume a balanced diet.

The Smarter Lunchrooms core values include:

  • Low Cost/No-Cost Solutions
  • Focus on Lunchroom Environment
  • Promotes Healthful Eating Behaviors
  • Sustainability

The Smarter Lunchrooms six principles are:

  • Manage Portion Sizes
  • Increase Convenience
  • Improve Visibility
  • Enhance Taste Expectations
  • Utilize Suggested Selling
  • Set Smart Pricing Strategies

Over 4.5 million breakfasts and lunches are served to California kids each day creating a significant opportunity to apply the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement concepts in school cafeterias.  The mission of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement is to equip schools with tools and best practices to create sustainable, research-based lunchrooms that lead children to make healthy choices.

Mapping the Movement.

The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California is growing across the state. Click here to view school districts who have attended a training.

Smarter Lunchroom Resources
Vegetables Milk Fruit Reimbursable Meal Smarter Lunchrooms Score Card Smarter Lunchrooms website Smarter Lunchrooms Ideas
Tools Created by Schools
Don’t reinvent the wheel, utilize these resources that other school districts have already created. Creative names, a milk cooler poster and plate waste study spreadsheets to name a few!
Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California sponsors:

The mission of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California is to provide training and technical advising for school foodservice in California on the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement theory and practices created by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program funded by the USDA.

Our partners in this work:

CalFresh Nutrition Education website

Department of Education website

Dairy Council of California website

CA Food Policy Advocates

Kaiser Permanente

CA Endowment website

California Department of Public Health website


Learn More About Smarter Lunchrooms Movement + Earn CEUs!

In Person:

Download training registration


Before attending the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Principles and Practices Workshop, please review this training. This will greatly enhance your understanding of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement and help you get the most out of the in-person workshop.

The two-hour online course, Creating Smarter Lunchrooms, provides an introduction to behavioral economic theory, application ideas and offers two continuing education credits from the School Nutrition Association.

Attend the monthly Healthy Food Choices in Schools Community of Practice webinar on various school food topics. Interested in watching but can't make the time? All webinars are archived.

Monthly Nudge Newsletters

From the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California

Keep up to date on events, webinars and nuggets of behavioral economics wisdom!

Best Practices

Bringing Smarter Lunchrooms Movement to your schools is easy to do. Here are a few success stories to inspire you.

Learn how one school foodservice director is making significant strides throughout her district in making healthy options easy, available and appealing, which are the core ideas behind the Smarter Lunchroom Movement.

Find out how California's food service union leaders came together to learn about re-designing the school lunchroom experience.

Learn how cafeteria workers in the Mountain View School District of California are guiding healthy choices through the Smarter Lunchroom Movement.

Visit the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Newsroom to stay connected

Read about Robert Lewis and his nutrition program.  K-12 Innovator of the Year: El Monte City School District.