An initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Issue Brief

The Case for Healthy School Meals for All

School Meals Ages 10-17


November 11th, 2022


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 schools participating in the School Nutrition Programs was offering Healthy School Meals for All through the Community Eligibility Provision, allowing their students, families, and school nutrition departments to experience its many benefits (for more information on the federal options that are available to offer school meals to all students at no charge, see page 3). From March 2020 through the 2021–2022 school year, all schools have been given the opportunity to implement Healthy School Meals for All through the child nutrition waivers.

These waivers have supported access to school meals, as well as school meal operations, throughout the challenging and difficult circumstances created by the pandemic. In order to overcome the educational, health, and economic impacts of the pandemic on children and families, and the financial challenges created by the pandemic for school nutrition departments, Healthy School Meals for All should remain the new normal for all schools across the country.

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