Celebrate School Lunch Week

October 13, 2011

This week is National School Lunch Week. Find out what schools are doing across the country to get kids eating healthier.

For some kids school lunch is the best meal they’ll have all day, and just a year ago that meal might not have been anything more than just a slice of food service pizza and French fries. But today that is certainly changing, and this week for National School Lunch Week the goal is to get kids excited about locally grown, healthy school lunch choices. Of course that means actually having those choices available and that’s been one of the biggest things schools have been implementing.  
“School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy” is the nationwide campaign to help students understand where their food comes from, and to get excited about healthy choices. The campaign coincides with National Farm to School Month and will put a spotlight on the locally sourced foods served in schools. A recent survey from the School Nutrition Association’s found that nearly half of school districts offer locally sourced produce. 
According to Diane Pratt-Heavner, of the School Nutrition Association, “More schools are trying to source their food locally, especially from local growers.” The USDA is also currently updating the nutrition standards for meals that are part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. 
Districts are also helping educate students on the foods produced in their region with 32 percent involved in farm to school initiatives and another 41 percent interested in or planning to implement these initiatives. 
Serving more than 31 million children every school day, the federally-funded National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides nutritionally balanced, healthy meals. The program, which has been serving the nation's children for over 60 years, requires school meals to meet federal nutrition standards.
SNA’s website, www.TrayTalk.org, includes a new video and success stories from schools nationwide that are working to offer more local foods and inspire kids to give these healthy foods a try.