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

Young girl with long dark hair in a pink barrette holds a red school lunch tray with a plate of food as she exits the cafeteria line
  • 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.

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David Sandman

David Sandman

David Sandman, Ph.D., is President and CEO of the New York Health Foundation. www.nyhealthfoundation.org www.twitter.com/DavidSandman1