This week, October 12-16, 2015, is National School Lunch Week, and schools, students, parents, advocates, and more are celebrating the strides made in providing healthy school meals to more than 31 million children across the country. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides nutritious meals to students every day. Advocates across the country have been working hard over the past few years since the updated standards went into effect to showcase these healthy lunches offering more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and bringing fat, sugar, and sodium down to reasonable levels. The NSLP was created under President Harry Truman when the military noted malnutrition in recruits during World War II.
According to the USDA, “After only three years since the updated nutrition standards were implemented, more than 96 percent of schools nationwide are meeting the standards. The impact is nothing short of inspiring. School lunch revenue has increased by up to $450 million; teachers report that students are more attentive in the classroom; and a Harvard study found students are now eating more fruits and vegetables!”
Voices for Healthy Kids reported “More than two-thirds of schools in 2014 brought sodium down to more reasonable levels in recipes, up from a third of schools in 2000. More than half of schools that prepared meals on-site used fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned, and used lower-sodium canned vegetables instead of regular canned vegetables.”
In the past year, because of advocates like you, many strides have been made in relation to healthier school lunches, including:
Every day, advocates across the country support the nutritional standards for school lunches, and we want to thank you all for all of your help with this. Also, keep up the good work! Here are some of the fun ways people across the country have been celebrating #NSLW2015 and #HealthierNextGen:
- On Monday, October 26, the Second Annual Chef’s Roast will occur in Washington, D.C.
- On Tuesday, October 27, from 12pm-1:30pm the Food Policy Action Network will host School Lunch Pizza Party on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room (Russel 325). More details to come soon!
- John M. Sexton Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Florida, supported school meals through their “Green Bean Queen” video, where their cafeteria manager and physical education teacher join together to transform their school into a healthy place to work, learn and play.
- Philadelphia’s Anne Frank Elementary has continued to change the food culture in their school, they have added salads to meals, and have cut sweets from classroom celebrations.
- On Tuesday, October 13, Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Salud America! hosted Jessica Donze Black in the #SaludTues tweetchat on school nutrition.
- On Wednesday, the Physicians Committee hosted The State of the School Lunch Tray tweetchat and showcased the 2015 #GoldenCarrotAward winning schools.
Celebrities, chefs, companies, schools, parents and students across the country have come out this week in support of #NSLW2015 and #HealthierNextGen and have shared great photos and videos. Thank you all for your advocacy and support of healthy school meals! Keep up the good work, and share what you, your family, school and community are doing to support school meals this week and every week!