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How Smarter Lunchrooms Wants to Help Your Lunchroom

Smarterlunchrooms.org and the Cornell Food and Brand Lab aim to design sustainable research-based lunchrooms that subtly guide smarter choices. Our mission involves research, education and outreach. We aim to address specific challenges that schools may face while also taking a comprehensive and holistic approach to encouraging healthier eating in the lunchrooms.

Cornell Food and Brand Lab researchers are conducting several studies to see how small low-cost changes in the lunchroom can encourage kids to choose healthier foods. In addition, we are conducting a study to see how differences such as day of week or time of year might affect kid's eating behavior. We are collecting historical data from a representative group of schools across the United States.

If Your School is Interested

If your school agrees to participate in this project, you will be asked to make one of the recommended changes in your lunchroom and provide Cornell researchers with appropriate point of sale data as well as relevant production records. In addition, you will be asked to become a Team Nutrition School and begin the HealthierUS School Challenge. The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) was established to recognize schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity. Four levels of superior performance are awarded: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Gold of Distinction.

To qualify for the awards, a school must submit a formal application and meet basic criteria set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The HUSSC criteria reflect the recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published recommendations (April 2007) for foods that should be served in schools, outside of the organized school lunch meals.

What Our Team Will Do For Your School

The Cornell Food and Brand Lab Smarter Lunchroom team will contribute to the improvement of your school lunchroom and agree to:

  1. Provide a team of research experts to develop innovative changes/ tips that can be implemented in your lunchroom to encourage healthier eating.
  2. Provide data analysis that helps your school understand how changes made are affecting sales and consumption.
  3. Provide research-based suggestions to your school that will help encourage healthier eating in the lunchroom without sacrificing revenue.
  4. Work with your school to disseminate research discoveries to the public.

What Your School Needs to Do to Help Our Team

In order for the Smarter Lunchrooms team to analyze your lunchroom sales data, you will need to find out the following point-of-sale (POS) and production record data from your school food service director:

  1. Are individual item purchases recorded?
  2. Which cash register system is used?
  3. Are POS records able to be separated by student ID number, day, and time?
  4. Can POS records be tracked for a long period of time?
  5. Can POS records be exported into excel?
  6. Are production records available?
  7. Are production records computerized or recorded on paper?

Any Questions?

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns, or to find out more about Smarter Lunchroom Initiatives.
Email us at: ben@cornell.edu; Call us at: 607-255-8810.