Smarter Lunchrooms Means Healthier Eaters

Smarter Lunchrooms LogoCorinth Central School District is trying some best practices from the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, which was developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program.

The concept of Smarter Lunchrooms is to introduce easy, no-cost and low-cost changes to encourage students to select, eat, and enjoy healthier foods in school. Using research-based principles that lead children to make healthy choices when provided with the full spectrum of choice, it nudges kids towards nutritious foods. After trying some of these changes, we assessed ourselves using criteria from Smarter Lunchrooms. Here is what we found:

Smarter Lunchrooms Self-Assessment

Corinth CSD, High School/Middle School

Completed 11/30/16

Reviewers: Diane Whitten, Cornell Cooperative Extension nutrition educator; Lisa Tevendale, School Nutrition Director; Karen Mort, Cornell Cooperative Extension nutrition educator.

General Observations: Approximately 47% of students in the Corinth CSD qualify for Free or Reduced School Lunch, 43% at High School/Middle School, 49% Elementary School. Approximately 59% of students buy lunch. Juniors and seniors are allowed to leave the campus for lunch.

Areas where standards are met:

  • Focusing on Fruit: At least two types of fruit are available and they are available in more than one location on the service line. The fruit looks fresh and desirable. Production/service/sales records indicate that about 95% of students buying lunch get fruit. Serve local Saratoga Apple fruit.
  • Promoting Vegetables & Salad: At least two types of vegetables are available in more than one location on the service line. The vegetables looks fresh and desirable. Lunchroom employees encouraged students to take the vegetables.
  • Moving More White Milk: White milk is available to all students and is replenished when needed.
  • Entrée of the Day: The main entrée is highlighted on signs.
  • Increasing Sales of Reimbursable Meals: In addition to the Entrée of the Day, reimbursable combo meals are offered, for example chef salad, bundled with whole grain roll.
  • Signage: Signs are used in the service area to direct students to choose a balanced meals with food available from all food groups. A large Got Milk poster hangs in the cafeteria, plus a breakfast poster.
  • Lunchroom atmosphere: Music was playing in the service area that the students seemed to enjoy. Lunchroom employees were friendly and interacted with students. The cafeteria was kept clean and tables were washed between lunch periods. The area is well lite and not too noisy. A few posters on the walls promote healthy eating.
  • Student Involvement: In May on “Tommy Day” students are invited to create their own flatbread pizza, teachers vote on their favorite which is then featured on the menu in June. Approximately 60 students were involved last year.


Additional notes: 

  • During the self-assessment a health teacher, Valerie Anatriello, expressed an interest in helping to promote healthy eating in any way she could. 
  • A lunchroom monitor commented that smaller portion sizes have driven students to buying extra food from the vending machines, fill up on junk. Lisa said kids can buy a second portion, but the meal portion size in regulated.  
  • Lisa is interested in surveying students and having a more active Wellness Committee.
Jan 09, 2017