School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study Final Report Volume 2: Nutritional Characteristics of School Meals

Publisher: Alexandria, VA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Policy Support
Apr 23, 2019
Authors
Elizabeth Gearan, Mary Kay Fox, Katherine Niland, Dallas Dotter, Liana Washburn, Patricia Connor, Lauren Olsho, and Tara Wommack

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service administers the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program to ensure that school-age children have access to nutritious meals and snacks to support their growth and development.

In school year 2012–2013, the school meal programs began to undergo widespread changes, including new requirements that affect the food and nutrient content of school meals; the types of foods students need to select in order for their meal to be eligible for Federal reimbursement; pricing for full-price meals; and the types of foods and beverages that can be sold in schools during the school day. The School Nutrition Meal Cost Study (SNMCS) is the first nationally representative, comprehensive assessment of these programs since these reforms were implemented.

This volume of the study’s final report describes the extent to which daily and weekly menus for school meals met updated nutrition standards; the nutritional quality of school meals; and changes in nutritional quality since the updated nutrition standards were implemented.