Smarter Lunchrooms Assessment Overview

You have worked hard to provide healthy meals for your students! The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition, and ProjectPA are excited to help you and your school by providing simple and effective tools that encourage positive changes in the lunchroom! A Smarter Lunchroom nudges students toward choosing nutritious foods.

Smarter Lunchroom ideas are:

  • low-cost/no-cost,
  • sustainable,
  • promote healthy eating, and
  • can increase participation in school meals.

How does it work?

  • A “Smarter Lunchrooms” cadre, consisting of individuals with expertise in school food service, has been recruited and trained to conduct free on-site assessments of lunchrooms in PA schools.
  • Interested schools/school districts must apply for an assessment. The application form can be accessed by clicking on the “Apply for a Smarter Lunchrooms Assessment” link below.

If you are selected to receive an assessment, a cadre member will:

  • visit your school to conduct an initial assessment where he/she will make recommendations based on your goals,
  • follow-up by phone and/or e-mail, and
  • conduct one follow-up visit to your school after the agreed-upon changes have been made.

Schools that are selected are expected to:

  • collect/compile data to determine if the changes have been effective (e.g. changes in meal participation, changes in sales of targeted items, etc.); and
  • submit a short on-line report (“Promising Practice”) to Project PA to describe the changes made and the outcomes.

In order to participate, schools must:

  • be sponsors of the National School Lunch Program; and
  • have self-operating food service programs.
Priority will be given to those schools that have experienced decreases in school meals participation.

The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement was developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. To go to the Cornell site and read more about Smarter Lunchrooms go to