School Nutrition Success Stories

School nutrition professionals were making healthy changes to menus long before updated federal nutrition standards for school meals took effect. SNA’s Tray Talk blog,, and Facebook page for parents,, feature school meal programs nationwide that are finding creative ways to improve menus and get students excited about healthier choices. Notable trends include:

Kid favorites made healthy:
Popular menu items are nutritious choices! School pizza is prepared with whole grain crust, low-fat cheese and reduced-sodium sauce. Macaroni and cheese features whole wheat pasta and low-fat/sodium sauce. Even chocolate milk has gotten a makeover, and is now lower in sugar and fat-free.

Chef-inspired recipes:
Schools are mixing up the menu with restaurant-inspired recipes. Many schools have trained chefs on staff or partner with local chefs to develop new menu items and to help get kids excited about trying healthier menu choices. View this video to see how chefs are making a difference.

See how Farm to School is freshening up menus in Burlington, Vt., schools!

More local sourcing:
Schools are purchasing more local foods directly from farmers and through co-ops and produce distributors. USDA has found that more than 40,300schools, representing 23.5 million students, are serving over $385 million inlocal food. To find out about local sourcing, farm to school programs and school gardens in your area, visit USDA’s Farm to School Census.

Ethnic flavors:
School cafeterias are catering to increasingly diverse student bodies. These days, cafeterias are dishing up more ethnic recipes that appeal to students from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and help expand student palates. Check out this video about the Ethnic Food Project in Highline Public Schools, Washington.

Student Involvement:
School nutrition professionals want students to enjoy the nutritious foods offered with school meals, but sometimes students are hesitant to try new menu items or unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. Schools host student taste tests and offer free samples to encourage kids to try healthier fare, gather feedback on new recipes and identify student favorites. Kids cooking classes, school gardens and nutrition education programs are also helping students become open to the healthy choices in the cafeteria. View this video to see how Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota is collecting and sharing recipes to promote nutritious meals.

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SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

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