Welcome to The Lunch Box!

Program Statement

A program of the Chef Ann Foundation, The Lunch Box (TLB) is the largest online resource for scratch cooking in schools. The mission of The Lunch Box is to provide school district administrators, food service directors, and their teams with the tools and resources they need to serve healthy, delicious, scratch-cooked food to every student, every day. Our resources are free to use and include scalable and downloadable recipes, procurement tools, financial tools, marketing materials, and much more.


Over the past few decades, school food has become increasingly more processed and less healthy. With nearly 30 million school lunches a day, this is a national issue. We believe that with the right knowledge and tools, schools can transform their kitchens and lunchrooms to support student health, wellbeing, and academic success.

Program Goals

  • Support and motivate schools with relevant, up-to-date operational content and resources that enable them to serve healthy, scratch-cooked meals
  • Educate food service professionals on the programs and opportunities that solve common problems experienced by school food service teams
  • Provide schools with tools for marketing and promoting their lunch program and healthy eating

Principles of School Food Change

The Lunch Box shares best practices from districts around the United States and provides a wide range of in-depth tools and resources to help with menu creation, financial management, procurement, marketing, and engagement strategies. Our resources cover five key areas that contribute to systemic change in school food operations:

  • Food
  • Finance
  • Facilities
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing

Program Impact

In 2018, more than 4,000 users downloaded resources 21,500 times to transform school food in their districts! 

“Great tips and recommendations to help implement change in our public schools.” - TLB User

"You have a wealth of valuable information for school districts to use. Thanks for all you do in providing schools with the tools they need to provide nutritious meals to our students." - Terri, Food Service Director at South Hamilton School District

"Your website is impressive and I love the huge emphasis on nutrition education. I think this is a key component of salad bar success!" - Melanie, Assistant Supervisor at Evergreen School District

"My youngest son was not feeling well on Monday morning. He was very upset to miss his school day... He was almost in tears due to having to miss out on the... VEGGIE ENCHILADAS! Yes, you read that right!!! He was upset over not being able to eat his favorite school lunch. Figured you'd appreciate this lil' story." - Parent at Boulder Valley School District

Mission & History

Learn more about the creation and development of The Lunch Box.

Advisory Board

Meet our advisors who enhance the diversity of support that we can provide schools, districts, and food service teams across our country. These hands-on experts are solving unique problems related to school food reform throughout the United States. 

Supporting Research

Read significant research and case studies that outline the benefits of healthy school food programs. These resources can be especially helpful when discussing school food changes with school district administration and community stakeholders.

FAQ + Contact

Browse through some of our most frequently asked questions. You can also submit a question using our online form and we'll get back to you with an answer very soon.

Register to Download The Lunch Box Tools

Please help us keep The Lunch Box tools and resources free for all users by registering here! It will help us demonstrate to our supporters how this site is used in school food work.