Smarter Lunchroom Movement

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The Smarter Lunchroom Movement is an initiative launched by Cornell University's Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (the BEN center) and funded in part by USDA FNS/ERS with the goal of using research-based principles to nudge students towards making healthy dietary choices.[1][2] The strategies and tools developed by the program are based in principles of Behavioral economics, marketing and Psychology. Using a "scorecard" of 60 free or low-cost strategies, participating lunchrooms can evaluate their current lunchroom setup and identify simple ways to increase healthy food consumption and reduce waste.[3]

The program was introduced in 2009 and has since been implemented in over 30,000 schools across the United States.[4] In 2017, the Smarter Lunchroom Movement was adapted to suit child care environments with a program called Smarter Mealtime.[5] Research shows that the Smarter Lunchroom Movement effectively increases consumption of healthier items at a low cost for schools.[6][7]

The movement has received coverage by major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post and NPR[8][9][10] and has inspired changes at local, corporate and legislative levels.


In 2009, Sodexo, a major food service provider for schools around the world, embraced principles from the Smarter Lunchroom Movement to guide students towards healthier eating.[11]

In 2017, the Smarter Lunchroom Act, which would require public schools to use Smarter Lunchroom Movement strategies, was introduced to the New Jersey General Assembly.[12][13]


  1. "About | Smarter Lunchrooms Movement". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  2. "Sponsors | Smarter Lunchrooms Movement". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  3. "The Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard | Smarter Lunchrooms Movement". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  4. "Key Facts about the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement - eXtension". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  5. "Smarter Mealtimes in Child Care | Smarter Lunchrooms Movement". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  6. "Short Version Smarter Lunchrooms Annotated Bibliography of Non- Cornell Research" (PDF).
  7. "External Scholars Contributing to Smarter Lunchrooms Research" (PDF). April 2017.
  8. Rubin, Bonnie Miller (2017-02-24). "How Schools Can Get Children to Eat Their Vegetables". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  9. Svokos, Alexandra (2014-10-16). "The Sneaky Way To Get Kids To Eat Healthy School Lunches". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  10. "Fruit, Not Fries: Lunchroom Makeovers Nudge Kids Toward Better Choices". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  11. Forum, Forbes Leadership. "Why Big Food Belongs in the School Lunchroom". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  12. "Lunchroom smart choices bill passes | Franklin Hamburg Lafayette NJ | Local News". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  13. "Assembly passes Smarter Lunchroom Act | Franklin Hamburg Lafayette NJ | Local News". Retrieved 2017-06-27.

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