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Smarter Lunchrooms

Empowering Students to Make Healthy Choices.

Helping students build healthy eating habits requires a whole-school approach that prioritizes nutrition education in the classroom, the cafeteria and the school community. The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM) encourages students to select and consume healthy options in the cafeteria. SLM was started at Cornell University in 2009 and is used to implement research-based strategies in the school cafeteria.

Implementing the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement

Follow these steps to assess your cafeteria, make an action plan and implement SLM strategies in your school:

  • Spot: Use the Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard to assess the cafeteria environment.
  • Plan: Review the scorecard and decide on three to five improvements, then make a plan for implementation.
  • Do: Put the plan into action.
  • Prove: Use the scorecard to re-assess the cafeteria. Share successes with the school community.

For a detailed description of these four steps, download the 4 Step Path to Building a Smarter Lunchroom or How to Build a Smarter Lunchroom.


Certified Technical Advising Professionals Available

Contact a Community Nutrition Adviser for help implementing SLM. All Community Nutrition Advisers are certified Technical Advising Professionals for SLM who can help train cafeteria staff and advise on the implementation process.

Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard

The Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard presents 60 low- or no-cost strategies that can be implemented in the cafeteria to increase participation, improve consumption and reduce food waste. The strategies are all research-based and designed to enhance the cafeteria environment.

To join the movement with community partners, visit Smarter Lunchrooms of California.

How Do School Meals Support Healthy Healthier Kids?

Bessie O'Connor, RDN, explains how school meals provide a critical access point for nutritious foods

Watch here

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