Healthy school meals have a range of benefits, especially when offered for free to all students. Strong nutrition standards for meals are associated with students having healthier diets. Some research also shows that providing healthy school meals for all students supports attendance and even academic performance.
The last major update to school nutrition standards happened in 2012, and the changes made then—including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with limits on saturated fats and sodium—increased the nutritional quality of meals by more than 40 percent, with student participation highest in schools that served the healthiest meals.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently proposing additional updates to those standards. By joining together, we can ensure that school meals support a healthy future for all children.