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According to the Food Action and Research Center, studies show that students who participate in school meal programs tend to consume more milk, vegetables, and fruits, and they have a higher intake of certain crucial nutrients like fiber and calcium.
Students struggling with hunger are more likely to display signs of emotional, mental, and behavior problems. They are also more likely to earn lower grades and repeat grades than other non-hungry students. Children that are fed at school have better attendance rates, fewer missed school days, and better overall test scores. (FRAC Article)
In the Houston area and throughout Texas, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) feeding program, also known as SquareMeals, administers the USDA National School Lunch, National School Breakfast, After-School, and Dinner Programs. Houston school districts, through their Child Nutrition Departments, follow national guidelines and often create their own innovative and appealing recipes that students love. School districts receive reimbursements for qualifying meal participants from the USDA and through the TDA. The agencies provide nutritional guidelines, professional development, and food safety training. After the traditional school year is over, the Texas Dept. of Agriculture ensures that children continue to be fed during the summer months through the Summer Feeding Program at many Houston area schools and sites like the Houston Area Food Bank.
School breakfast and lunch programs are some of the most valuable services provided by our Houston public schools. By serving healthy school lunches and breakfast to every student, every day, our children are better prepared to learn, focus, and succeed.
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