The Facts About School Meals
School meals today offer kids healthy, tasty and appealing choices;

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Reduced TransFats
  • More salads with choices
  • Pizza with whole wheat crust, low-fat cheese
  • Baked fries rather than fried
  • Healthful cooking/preparation techniques

School meals are balanced and healthy
Lunches that are part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) must meet nutrition guidelines including:

  • limiting fat and saturated fat in meals
  • providing one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C
  • NSLP lunches meet the dietary guidelines
  • NSLP lunches are served in age appropriate portion sizes and provide the right balance of protein, dairy, whole grains, fruits and vegetables

School Meals help kids maintain a healthy weight

  • Students who eat school meals provided through the NSLP and the SBP are more likely to be at a healthy weight.***
  • NSLP participants are more likely than non-participants to consume vegetables, milk and milk products, and meat and other protein-rich foods, both at lunch and over 24 hours. They also consume less soda and/or fruit drinks.*
  • This benefit is especially relevant for kids and their parents in today's climate of heightened awareness of obesity issue.
  • Students are less likely to gain weight during the school year when in school then during the summer when school is out.

*Source USDA
**Source: Weekly Reader Research, 10/19/2006
***Source Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, August 2003

The Healthy Challenge: Selecting Nutritious Snacks
Use the following guidelines to select snacks low in sodium, sugar, fat, and saturated fat.

  • Fat- no more than 35 percent of total calories, excluding nuts, seeds and peanut or other nut butter (3.5 grams of fat per 100 calories)
  • Saturated plus trans fat - no more than 10 percent of calories (1 gram per 100 calories)
  • Added sugars - less than 35 percent of added sugars by weight (added sugars exclude naturally occurring sugars from fruit, vegetable and dairy ingredients) (10 grams per ounce of dry weight ) (4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon)
  • Sodium - No more than:
    • 230 mg per serving of chips, crackers, cheeses, baked goods, french fries and other snack items.
    • 480 mg per serving for cereals, soups, pastas, and meats.
    • 600 mg for pizza, sandwiches, and main dishes: and 700 mg for meals.

Suggested good snack items include:

  • low fat yogurt
  • pretzels
  • plain popcorn
  • bagels with low-fat cream cheese
  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • string cheese
  • sugar-free puddings
  • whole grain crackers
  • frozen 100% juice bars
  • fig cookies
  • bottled water
  • cereal bars
  • low fat milk
  • animal crackers
  • 100% vegetable juices
  • baked chips