Welcome school meal leaders...

Double Fruit Sales with One 5-Minute Change!

Want kids to eat healthier food? 
Hint: Lowering the price of fruit and taking away cookies isn't the answer. 
Place the fruit in a pretty, lamp lit fruit bowl! Our research shows sales will jump by over 100% and stay there for the entire semester. 

We have dozens more Smarter Lunchroom Strategies that you can start using tomorrow!


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Learn About the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement

The Smarter Lunchroom Movement is a program implemented in over 29,000 schools that use our low cost lunchroom change to encourage healthier food choices. Our findings will help you double healthy purchases without ever changing the food in your menu. We teach you to guide students toward fruit and vegetables and away from cookies. We can help you do this in less than a week.

The six principles listed below constitute the basis of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement. They come from research concerning various environmental cues that influence eating behavior and they work in school lunchrooms as well as in restaurants, food courts, and even in your home kitchen!

  • Manage Portion Sizes: Use smaller containers, plates, and serving utensils. Large portions = eating more and small portions = eating less. People will “clean their plate” even after they are full... even when they don't like what they are eating!
  • Increase Convenience: Make healthy foods more convenient. The easier it is to eat a food, the more likely we are to eat it!
  • Improve Visibility: Out of sight, out of mind. Simply seeing a brownie or other high-calorie food can lead to unplanned consumption – we crave it and eat it before we think twice. Conversely, the image or presence of a healthy food option can lead to consumption of healthier foods.
  • Enhance Taste Expectations: If it looks delicious and sounds delicious... it must be delicious! Food tastes how we expect it to taste – which is why it's such a shame that people are taught to think healthy foods are yucky! Name, appearance, and reputation create our expectations.
  • Utilize Suggestive Selling: Say what?? Attitudes are contagious! We are influenced by people around us. Signs and verbal prompts influence us to see and desire products.
  • Set Smart Pricing Strategies: Money Talks! People like to save money, but it can backfire... many examples of “bundling” result in eating LOTS of unplanned, unnecessary, and even unwanted calories.

Check Out Our Key Smarter Lunchroom Resources

On SmarterLunchrooms.org, you will find lots of solutions and tools to make your lunchroom smarter and healthier. Get started:

Read Our Research in Schools

Check out some of our lunchroom based studies below:

Visit Our Healthy Food Choices in Schools Resource


Healthy Food Choices in Schools is an online resource area lead by the Cornell Food & Brand Lab team and hosted by eXtension.org with a mission to provide educational/informational tools and resources that empower school food service directors and staff, school administrators, teachers, health professionals, and wellness committees to make changes that encourage children to make healthier food selections in school food environments, without undermining revenue. Given the role parents and the children themselves have in the food choices they make, tools and resources that they can use to improve nutrition at school and at home are also developed and made available.

For hundreds of free to use resources, including monthly educational webinars, visit:



Our Focus

  • Encourage kids to eat healthy foods
  • Stimulate participation with simple and effective school lunchroom changes
  • Support revenue stability in school cafeterias
  • Help to develop healthy parent-child nutrition dialogues
  • Facilitate effective school-parent communication

Our Principles: 

  • It’s not nutrition until it’s eaten!
  • Preservation of choice instead of restrictions
  • Information and resources applicable and relevant nationwide


  • Webinars: 30 minute presentations by healthy school food experts
  • Ask an Expert: speedy, knowledgeable answers to your questions
  • Short Articles on relevant, interesting, and informative topics
  • ‘How To’ Sheets to facilitate the execution of Community of Practice initiatives
  • Tip Sheets to provide helpful hints in an easy to read and fun way
  • Testimonials to communicate success stories from participating lunchrooms

If you have expertise in school food and would like to contribute your expertise to this initiative please contact: healthy_food_choices_in_schools@cornell.edu