Our country is facing a crisis when it comes to nourishing our children, and schools must be part of the solution. Over one-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese, which will lead to long-term health problems, shorten their lives, decrease their ability to be productive citizens, and create a massive strain on our health care system. The situation is worsened by our nation’s growing problem with food insecurity. According to the Economic Research Service of the USDA: 16 million children live in food-insecure households, “…meaning that their access to adequate food and family meals is limited by a lack of money and other resources.” School is the one place where children should be—and be—guaranteed healthy, nourishing meals.
“If we’re going to close the achievement gap in our country, we need to close the nutrition gap.”
—Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
Healthy school food supports academic performance and children’s success at school. Hungry kids can’t think, and malnourished kids can’t learn. With more than 12 million children eating breakfast and 31 million children eating school lunch each day, real food prepared by trained a staff is a big part of the solution. Changing school food from processed food to meals made with fresh, whole ingredients helps children develop healthy eating habits that they can bring home to their families and carry into adulthood.
The Lunch Box is designed specifically to support school district food service teams as they transition their food programs from processed foods to scratch cooking with fresh ingredients. The site provides technical support to help districts expand their services, ensuring that healthy food reaches even more kids every day. The Lunch Box shares best practices from around the United States, building a network of school food change-makers, and includes a wide range of in-depth tools and resources, from recipes to financial management guides. Users have free access to scalable and downloadable recipes, USDA compliant menu cycles, procurement tools, financial calculators, implementation strategies, training tools, marketing materials, and much more.