Free School Meals: When the Feds Step Back, States Step Up

  • They improve physical health, mental wellbeing, and academic performance.
  • Students who eat school meals every day have better diets than students who don’t; they eat more fruits, vegetables, fiber, and whole grains.
  • With school meals, students’ risk of diet-related disease and health care costs both drop.
  • When everyone is eligible for free school meals, the stigma and shame of getting free lunch disappears.
  • When meals are free to all, participation in the program increases.
  • The costs that schools pay per meal also drop and quality improves because schools can realize larger bulk discounts.

By David Sandman, President and CEO, New York Health Foundation
Published in Medium on September 20, 2022