Program DescriptionThe National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is the oldest and largest of the Child Nutrition Programs, celebrating 50 years in 1996. It is a Federally assisted meal program that provides balanced, low-cost or free lunches to thousands of children in Colorado each day.
Since 1946, the National School Lunch Program has made it possible for schools to serve appealing lunches designed to meet the needs of children. In recent years, concerns have emerged regarding the overall nutritional content of school meals. These concerns address findings that the diet of Americans has changed from being low in nutrients and adequate in calories to containing an overabundance of calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. At the same time, Americans eat too few grains, fruits, and vegetables. A good diet can help to reduce the occurrence of chronic diseases and promote good health and well-being.
The School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides a nutritious morning meal. This program is recognized as one of the most beneficial of the Federal nutrition programs. It meets a vital need of feeding thousands of children in Colorado, who otherwise may not eat a nutritious breakfast. Participation in the program has been shown to improve learning and test performance. Specific "meal patterns" are required in the SBP, and schools that participate in the SBP receive funding assistance similar to the National School Lunch Program.