Nutrition Options for Students in the Summer — Food That's In When School Is Out!
Childhood food insecurity remains at unacceptable levels across the country and children are most acutely at risk in the summer when they do not have access to school meals. Good nutrition is essential for good health and effective learning every day, all year long. During the school year, students receive meals while they are in school; however, when school is out, many students lose access to nutritious meals. For many children, summer vacation exposes them to an increased risk of hunger and developmental decline. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again.
Schools have three options to help children bridge the nutrition gap in the summer. School divisions are encouraged to consider participating in one of the following programs to meet the nutritional needs of students during the summer months:
- Academic Summer School Programs-National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Programs (SBP).
- USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
- Seamless Summer Option (SSO).
Studies show that well-nourished students are better prepared to learn. To that end, schools help provide a healthy environment through nutritious meals, healthy snacks and opportunities for physical education and nutrition education. Through school nutrition programs, 681,505 lunches, 196,987 breakfasts and 7,240 afterschool snacks are served on a typical day in Virginia public schools.
VDOE provides leadership and assistance to school divisions in developing effective and comprehensive nutrition services that result in children making educated, healthful choices.
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