Did you know that the City of Kingston School District serves thousands of lunches every day?  Of course, everyone wants and deserves school lunches and breakfasts to be as healthy as possible. With that goal in mind, the Eat Smart NY staff at Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County is working with the City of Kingston School district food service staff to help implement Smarter Lunchrooms. 

Smarter Lunchrooms is an initiative of Cornell University and is based on the same principles that grocery stores use to sell us certain foods. Stores might put foods they want to target for more sales, at eye level, or at more than one location throughout the store, or perhaps at the checkout aisle for a last minute impulse purchase.  All of these marketing tactics are also used to sell us candy, soda, and junk food.  But but what if we could use some of these same strategies to encourage us, and our children, to choose healthy foods more often? Smarter Lunchrooms aim to do just that, by making simple and low-cost changes in the cafeteria that will promote fruits, vegetables, and white milk to students.  For example, why serve potatoes to our young students, when they could be eating Super Spuds!  Why not have bowls of fresh fruit available at both the beginning and the end of the line?

Eat Smart NY trained over fifty food service workers in Smarter Lunchrooms in November, and recently did a Smarter Lunchroom assessment at two school cafeterias, George Washington Elementary, and Bailey Middle School.  The Smarter Lunchroom assessment is a major step towards identifying easy changes that cafeterias and schools can make to help nudge our students in the healthier direction of buying and eating more healthy foods.  Eat Smart is excited to be partnering with Kingston School food service on this initiative!                                                         Post written by Katie Sheehan-Lopez, CCEUC

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