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5 Reasons to Check Out Your School Lunch Program

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This post is sponsored by the School Nutrition Association.

One of the things I most dread about the school year is packing lunches.  I’m good for about the first two weeks and then it just becomes a chore.  After attending the annual conference of the School Nutrition Association, I am all about letting my kids buy lunch at school.  I spent an entire day learning about school lunch programs and it was an eye opening experience.

Healthy School Lunch

The Food is Actually Good: The days of mystery meat and leftover casserole are gone.  While at the SNA conference I sampled sushi, pizza made with sweet potato crust, and black bean soup – all made specifically for school lunches.  The food was not only healthy, but it was delicious.  Go in and check out what your school is serving. You may be surprised at what you find.

It’s Affordable:  School nutrition directors are amazing at feeding kids great tasting wholesome food on a budget.  Most school lunches run in the neighborhood of $2 and that includes milk.  I gladly pay a few dollars to not have to pack a lunch even a few days a week.

School Lunch Association


Your Kids May Try Something New:  School lunches are heavily regulated by the federal government so by law they must serve a certain amount of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  That means the pasta, breads, and pizzas are at least partially whole wheat.  My kids are starving at lunch so they’re more willing to try a new food at that meal then they are at home.

School Lunch Workers Love Your Kids: Seriously! Go in to your school and meet the people cooking and serving your kids. Meet the nutrition director for your district and learn about their goals for school lunch.  They want to partner with you to help get your kids a healthy filling lunch that your kids will eat. They want to help you teach your kids about good nutrition. School nutrition directors and their staff are passionate about their job – and your kids!

Kids Love It: Buying lunch at school is a big deal for my elementary school aged kids. I’ll be honest that our school lunch isn’t the greatest and I wish it was more like the food I saw at the conference.  But my kids still love it and it’s a nice break for me from packing lunches.

This summer I realized that most parents, including me,  don’t have a clue what goes in to a school lunch program and I want to encourage you to go check yours out! Every school district is different, but hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find in your local school lunch room.  For more information on school lunch, connect with the School Nutrition Association on their Facebook page just for parents, Tray Talk.

Thank you to the School Nutrition Association for sponsoring this post. 

This article may contain affiliate links.

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  • Emily
    September 15, 2015

    I LOVE that you allow your kids to buy school lunch! I work in a middle school kitchen, and I can vouch for the fact that WE LOVE YOUR KIDS! We definitely don’t do this job for the money or the glamour–we do it because we are passionate about serving your kids nutritious meals. It can be challenging since there are lots of rules and never enough funding, but we try our best with what we have!
    What a lot of parents don’t know, is that the more kids who buy lunch, the more funds we have to make meaningful improvements–such as exciting menu options and locally sourced seasonal produce. So the more you buy, the better it will get!

    • Camille
      September 17, 2015

      I didn’t know that the more kids who buy lunch, the more money you get! I know the directors I spoke to were very proud of their high percentage of kids buying lunches at school and now I know why. Thank you so much for the work you are doing!