Summer’s Over: Time for a Healthy School Lunch
ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 30, 2005 - At least one thing has changed in the nation’s schools over the summer: school lunch. As children return for the new school year they can look forward to some of the healthiest school meals ever offered for lunch.
The School Nutrition Association’s 2005 Trend Survey of school nutrition directors conducted last month found that efforts to offer healthy meal choices have accelerated. Over 67% say their districts have made “significant” efforts in the past two years to offer healthy choices as part of National School Lunch Program meals.
Over half of all school districts also made “significant” efforts to offer healthy choices in school breakfasts and for a la carte sales. The most significant efforts in all categories are being made in the nations largest school districts.
The survey confirms other research that shows school lunches include more fruits and vegetables and more of the nutrients students need, than sack lunches brought from home. Other findings from the survey were:
School nutrition directors provided specific examples of the healthy lunch changes being made in time for the new school year. Among the most popular responses were:
School nutrition directors also report that more children are eating healthy school lunches and breakfasts. A majority of the 2005 respondents report an increase in Average Daily Participation rates for breakfast and lunch. A near majority (45.6%) report an increase in free/reduced price meal participation.
Districts continued to report financial pressure resulting in the need to increase school meal prices, although incidences of funding cutbacks have begun to decrease over the past two years. The effort to provide more healthy food options in school meals has added to the financial pressure of districts.
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