Studies have demonstrated a link between poor nutrition and learning in children. Lead researchers report that well-fed children learn better than poorly fed children. Studies (1990) show that students who participate in either the school breakfast or lunch program get significantly higher intakes of almost all nutrients than non-participants. In addition, the studies have found a positive impact between school breakfast or lunch participation and school attendance.

 

New research findings show that a lack of sufficient food during childhood, even on a relatively mild basis, is far more serious than previously thought. It can produce cognitive impairments in children, which may last a lifetime. However, evidence also suggests that adequate nutrition can prevent many of these undesirable outcomes and is capable of modifying harm that has actually occurred.

 

Here are 15 ways we’re making our schools’ breakfast and lunch programs healthier:

  1. All bagged snacks for students to purchase on a la carte lines are closely evaluated for calorie, sugar, fat, sodium, and fiber content. 
  2. All hamburger patties contain TVP or soy protein, which is pure protein with no fat.
  3. The hot dogs are Briar Start (formerly Hillshire Farms). Hot dogs are reduced fat and reduced sodium.
  4. Food Service operates only the juice/water vending machines in middle schools. One-half of the commission for these seven machines is split with the school.
  5. All salad dressings and tartar sauce offered are reduced-fat or fat-free products.
  6. All canned fruits are packed in either juice or light syrup.
  7. Applesauce is unsweetened.
  8. 90% of the milk sold/distributed through the Food Service Department is non-fat chocolate.
  9. The department does not put margarine or butter on dinner rolls. Margarine and peanut butter are available at the high schools only.
  10. All cold sandwich choices are prepared using buns made with 51% whole wheat white flour, which have 3 grams of fiber.
  11. The middle school a la carte program offers a limited number of items. It is intended to supplement the lunch program. Choices include sandwiches, entrée salads, fresh fruit, baked bag snacks, small peanut butter and jelly Uncrustables, mozzarella cheese sticks, smart snack approved snacks, milk, and cereal.
  12. We changed the elementary/middle school pizza to Smart by Tony’s, a lower-fat, higher-fiber pizza.
  13. Add grain/bread products are 51% whole grain.
  14. All menus meet the requirements of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.
  15. All breakfast cereals are reduced sugar and whole grain.

Visit www.nutrition.gov for a comprehensive source of information on nutrition and dietary guidance from multiple government agencies.