The challenges of serving a healthy school meal are numerous – logistics, cost, and even the paperwork all create barriers to providing healthy meals to the students who need them.
One source of paperwork is the requirements around providing free and reduced-cost meals to students whose families qualify. Currently, 10 percent of the federal reimbursement for school lunches goes toward administration and oversight of the program. If this amount is reduced – by, say, increasing efficiency and reducing the amount of paperwork and administration – school food directors could spend more of that money on higher quality and more nutritious food.
Universal meals mean better nutrition and a better educational experience for a greater percentage of low-income children, said Wilson, who is also president of School Nutrition Association. "We have all the science that shows good nutrition helps kids succeed in the classroom," she said. "We need to look at it as part of the school day."
- Check out our past blogs on how Philadelphia provides kids with free breakfast or lunch thanks to universal meals, and how the stigma of traditional free lunch programs makes some students skip eating.
- Visit our partner, the Food Resource and Action Center (FRAC) to learn more and contact your legislators in support of this bill.