School Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Good nutrition is one of the critical components to student learning readiness, from getting the nutrients to support cognitive development and reducing distractions due to an empty stomach to preventing chronic diseases and being physically able to participate throughout the school day.

Healthy eating at school addresses hunger and obesity, while influencing life-long habits.

Children selecting healthy foods More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and over 11 million participate in the School Breakfast Program (SBP), along with other federal programs. Today, many children are consuming most of their daily calories at school. With 1 in 5 US children managing hunger, food served at school may be the only food they eat regularly. Ensuring lots of fruit, vegetable and whole grain school meal options and limiting competitive foods high in sugar and fat also combat obesity, which impacts the 31% of US children who are overweight or obese and others at-risk in adulthood.

USDA My Plate iconMyPlate explains nutrition needs at every age and provides lesson plans and games for educators and parents.

Check out NEA Healthy Futures’ resources for tackling hunger and obesity in your school, and contact us with your school food experiences.