ApplesChildren in Iowa schools and across the country are encouraged to make good choices in the lunch line.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making nearly $6-million available in Team Nutrition grants.

Behavioral economist David Just says the money will go to agencies in Iowa and other states that fall within the National School Lunch program and many will use the money to implement a project called Smarter Lunchrooms.

“It’s a lunchroom that uses behavioral science to help children to both choose and eat fruits and vegetables and other healthier options,” Just says.

Small, simple changes or alterations in presentation techniques are showing big results in the school lunchrooms.

“Taking fruit out of the stainless steel bins and placing them in an attractive bowl near the cash register can increase fruit consumption by 102%,” he says. He reveals other basic tricks that work.

“Placing white milk in front of the chocolate milk can increase white milk sales by as much as 26%,” he says.

The U.S.D.A. is funding more than 2,000 Smarter Lunchroom kits that will be distributed to school districts nationwide which provide information on how to help kids eat healthier.

Iowa has 351 school districts and more than 473,000 students.