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Ideas to Celebrate National School Lunch Week

Monday, October 3, 2022

Next week, October 10-14, marks National School Lunch Week!

The creation of this celebratory week started in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) launched in 1946, and since then, many things have changed. The most significant change occurred back in 2010 when the Health Hunger Free Kids Acts changed the nutrition standards by requiring that schools serve more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free and/or low fat milk more frequently and less starchy vegetables or foods high in sodium and trans fat. These healthy changes are helping millions of students across the country be better-fueled to learn at school.

The NSLP serves nearly 30 million children every single day. During the 2021-22 school year, Wisconsin served 84,984,800 lunches, an average of about 490,000 lunches daily across the state. These numbers were a bit lower than the past few years with many schools choosing to operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but still shows how many Wisconsin children benefit from the NSLP.

National School Lunch Week is a great chance to celebrate at your school and inform your community about the importance of school lunch. Some fun ways to make NSLW a success at your school could be to deck out your cafeteria with posters illustrating school lunch food, invite teachers and administrators to each lunch with your students, or offer tasty new menu items and have the students provide feedback. This is also a great time to thank the school food service workers at your schools. They have such an important role in the lives of our students, providing them with nutritious, delicious meals to help them learn. Is there any other classroom of the day that students run to with such excitement as they do when they head to the cafeteria? Have a great time celebrating National School Lunch Week 2022 and for more ideas and information, check out the School Nutrition Association's webpage.

This item was submitted by Margaret Byrne, Public Health Nutritionist, Wisconsin DPI School Nutrition Team.