The National School Lunch Program has the capacity to reduce consumption of low-nutrient, energy-dense foods (LNEDs) among schoolchildren. Data from the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III) indicates that consumption of competitive foods is widespread.
Competitive foods are those foods consumed in school and not obtained from subsidized school lunches or breakfasts (i.e., snack foods). This article presents research related to the consumption of competitive foods among participants and nonparticipants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). SNDA-III field interviewers used three separate checklists to document the types and availability of competitive foods. A two-step process was used to assess competitive food consumption in children: onsite observations and a 24-hour recall.
SNDA-III strengthens understanding of how competitive foods interact with the school meal programs.