Celebrated since 1962, National School Lunch Week has grown over the years, now serving approximately 30 million lunches to students across 100,000 institutions! That is a lot of students going through the lunch line!
“The school lunch program has a huge impact and tremendous reach, and it’s serving students from every background,” says Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association (SNA).
With an increasingly number of kids going through your lunch line, you have the opportunity now more than ever to make an impact and feed kids nutritious meals. Many know the benefits of a healthy diet and how important it is for academic success so the pressure on menu planners is high. Food service directors have to balance cost and time on a daily basis.
Healthier Generation states that kids consume up to 50% of their daily calories and nutrients from school meals. This means school food can have a significant impact on each child and what is on the menu can have a positive or negative effect.
El Monte City School District in California is a great example of how a school nutrition department can lead the charge into healthier lifestyles. The school district has made it a priority to create a healthier environment for kids to learn and thrive.
“Students are not just tolerant of the school’s healthier options, they’re downright enthusiastic about them. Our nutrition department can tell you story after story about how kids write to us and tell us what they want—they want salad bars, organic food, things that look healthy. And we give it to them!” Principal Mercado of Durfee Elementary School
Many districts, like El Monte City, are trying to stay on top of the trends to increase participation and promote healthy eating. They include increasing grab-and-go options for lunch, expanding local purchasing or farm-to-school programs, and increasing the amount of scratch cooking.
There are so many fun ways to spice up school lunch and that is the purpose of National School Lunch week–to celebrate school lunch with fun activities to get students and the community involved.
Everyone loves pizza! Enjoy the pizza fun facts below and feel free to share!
Now, test your knowledge with this short quiz on National School Lunch Week