School Meals

School cafeterias are the centerpiece of the school nutrition environment. Rudd research supports efforts to remove unhealthy snacks from schools in terms of nutrition and finances; prompt students to take a piece of fruit with the reimbursable school meal; and remove flavored milk.

Our research on the National School Lunch Program has documented that the changes associated with the implementation of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act have made significant improvements in the school nutrition environment and rolling back the regulations is unwarranted.

Key studies have found:

  • Plate waste did not increase as a consequence of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act
  • Students support efforts to improve the food in schools
  • Students who eat two breakfasts have a healthier body weight than students who skip breakfast
  • Students increase consumption of plain milk two years after flavored milk is removed
  • Students consume more fruit and milk when 100% juice is not offered
  • Removing competitive foods is associated with increased meal participation.


Key Studies