In her January 27th article “School Nutrition Association [SNA] Pushes Fruitless Position,” Dana Woldow stated that the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves “over 31 million kids a day.” In fact, since the new nutrition standards for school meals went into effect in 2012, average daily participation in NSLP has dropped to 30 million.
One million fewer students chose school lunch each day despite constant efforts by SNA members to promote the healthier meals to students. As Woldow points out, SNA members “are hardworking individuals who care very much about kids and their health.” For many years, members have participated in countless SNA education sessions, webinars, culinary demonstrations and other programming to gain the latest research and tips for encouraging students to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
For many school meal programs, the current regulations are financially unsustainable, and in today’s fiscal climate, Congress is unlikely to provide “additional funds” to support school meals as Woldow suggests. SNA members clearly support providing the healthiest possible meals for students, but to ensure overall sustainability of our nation’s child nutrition programs, Congress and USDA must provide these school nutrition professionals with greater menu planning flexibility.
Leah Schmidt, SNS
School Nutrition Association President
Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Hickman Mills C-1 School District (Missouri)