funfoodWho says lunch has to be serious? Use these tips to make your cafeteria fun and inviting, all while spreading the health message!

1. Make your vegetables cool for kids by giving them creative names! When “Vegetable Soup” suddenly turned into a “Rich Vegetable Medley Soup,” sales increased 28% and ratings of the soup, the lunchroom, and the chef increased. Three types of labels are proven effective: nostalgic labels, such as “Grandma’s Original Apple Pie,” regional labels, like “Louisiana Spicy Cajun Stew,” and descriptive labels, such as “Creamy Macaroni and Cheese.” Just keep it positive and descriptive. Coming soon: A List of Fun Food Names.

2. Use colorful posters and table tents to advertise. Visual, colorful advertising is a great way to get students’ attention. Research shows that table tents and posters promoting dietary information and healthy eating attract attention to healthy foods and prime students to select healthier options in the lunchroom. Better yet– have students make the posters advertising healthy foods and display them in the cafeteria as art.
Coming Soon: Check out this list of vendors for exciting and colorful posters. Check out this free Menu Poster– just print and go (document attached) Check out this Menu Calendar– just edit and print (document attached)

3. Modify the school lunch menu design and offerings. Promote “themed” lunch days related to different ethnic foods, holidays, or even school spirit.

4. Add a stereo or jukebox to the cafeteria. By adding music and making the environment “cool”, students, especially older students, will be more likely to want to eat there.

5. Involve the faculty and staff. Allow them to pick a “themed menu” which features their favorite healthy foods. Students may be more curious to eat foods that their teacher chooses as favorites.

6. Field Trip! Kids and administration alike will enjoy this low-cost field trip because it is right in the cafeteria! You can be a big role in helping kids enjoy the art of preparing food by letting them get hands-on learning opportunity. A cafeteria tour can be done in as little as one hour. Students will take pride that they helped prepare lunch and you get a big helping hand– it’s a win-win!

7. Menu Club– Everyone loves to feel they are part of something bigger. By letting the students help survey the school meals, they may feel more “ownership” when foods are prepared, thus making them better eaters. Try a simple survey such as this one and add questions specific to your school. You can also list 10 meals or food items and let students rank each one from 1-10. Hint: always limit surveys to one page.

Coming Soon: Print out this Fun Facts Calendar for interesting food facts all school year!