Strong nutrition standards for school meals, consistent with evidence-based recommendations, position children for optimal health and wellbeing. Strong science supports the link between lowering sodium intake and better health. This new issue brief from Healthy Eating Research examines the recent history of sodium standards for school meals. It highlights current sodium intake among America’s children and School Nutrition Meal Cost Study (SNMCS) findings about sodium content of school meals. The SNMCS examined sodium levels in school meals based on data from nationally representative samples of public school food authorities, schools, and students in school year 2014-2015. Findings indicate that there has been major progress in reducing the sodium content of school meals, but more progress is needed and attempts to weaken sodium standards compromise the health of children across the country.
Schools Find Success in Reducing Sodium in Meals
Improving Access to Free School Meals: Addressing Intersections Between Universal Free School Meal Approaches and Educational Funding
Free and reduced price meal application data are used to allocate billions of dollars annually in education funding. However, schools serving universal free meals under the Community Eligibility Provision meal service option or USDA’s COVID-19 waivers do not typically collect school meal applications. The loss of this data has caused … More
Schools play a vital role in promoting children’s health and well-being. In the United States, schools contribute significantly to children’s overall diet quality and can provide up to half of their daily calories, especially among children from low-income families. Providing healthy school meals for all is a policy opportunity to … More
Strengthening the Impact of USDA’s Child Nutrition Summer Feeding Programs During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
To address food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, utilization of the USDA child nutrition summer feeding programs has drastically increased. Given the unprecedented use of the summer feeding programs, this research brief will (1) explain the meal pattern requirements and select operational differences between the summer feeding programs and the … More