Healthier School Meals

    • October 1, 2013

What's for lunch in American schools? Recently updated school meal standards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture call on schools to offer more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and to serve only fat-free and low-fat milk. Several recent announcements show that schools across the country are finding success serving healthier meals.



Children eat a healthy snack at Cleminson Elementary School in El Monte, California.

President Clinton Recognizes 267 Schools for Efforts to Prevent Childhood Obesity

At the eighth annual Healthy Schools Program Forum, President Bill Clinton recognized 267 schools for becoming healthier places for students and staff. The Healthy Schools Program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, announced that all recognized schools, along with thousands more participating in the program, had met the updated meal standards.

Read the press release
 A smiling boy eats a snack.

Most Schools Expected to Meet Healthier Lunch Standards

Ninety-four percent of U.S. school districts expected to meet updated federal nutrition standards for lunches by the end of the 2012-13 academic year, according to a national survey commissioned by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. However, many school districts say that their current kitchen equipment and infrastructure limit their ability to do so and that food service staff need more training as they work to implement the guidelines.

Read the study

Read the press release

More on School Meals

Children have a healthy snack of fruit and milk at Cleminson Elementary School in El Monte, California.

School Food Success Stories

The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project also talked to school districts across the country about bringing healthier meals into school. From introducing garden bars, to collaborating with local farmers and incorporating nutrition into lesson plans, these districts found creative ways to change their menus.

Read more
A young girl eats a healthy breakfast at school.

Strong School Meal Standards May Improve Student Weight Status

Researchers recently found that students who received free or reduced-price lunches—who tend to be from lower-income families—had higher obesity rates than those who did not participate in the lunch program, but the gap was much smaller in states with strong meal standards.

Read more

2012 Healthy Schools Program Forum

Healthier Schools for Healthier Students

The Healthy Schools Program is one of RWJF's biggest investments in efforts to prevent childhood obesity. In 2012, the program's annual forum showed that schools are making changes and the program is having a positive impact.

Read more

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Students offered healthy foods in school cafeteria.
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