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Every child needs healthy and wholesome nutrition, starting with breakfast, continuing with lunch and going through the evening meal. But over the years, some children have struggled to have access to adequate meals while they are away from home, including at school. 

National School Lunch Week shows appreciation for the ways that schools have been providing this mid-day meal – and also works to spread the word so that more students will participate and benefit from it!

History of National School Lunch Week

National School Lunch Week goes a bit further back in history than many people might expect. The event was established in 1962 when it was proclaimed by US President John F. Kennedy as a way of promoting the importance of a healthy lunch in the life of a child. The day was meant to act as a reminder of how a lunch impacts a child both inside and outside the classroom.

It was less than twenty years earlier, in 1946, that US President Harry S. Truman instituted the National School Lunch Act that worked to ensure every child had a healthy lunch. Foodservice in schools in the US had started years prior, but this action by President Truman made it official and provided federal funding for it.

Today, lunches served in schools are commonplace and made viable through federal financial assistance. National School Lunch Week aims to celebrate the federal National School Lunch Program that provides food for millions of children in school every day.

Each year, National School Lunch Week offers a theme that can inform the direction of activities. Past themes have included:

  • Level Up with School Lunch (2023)
  • Peace, Love & School Lunch (2022)
  • WILD About School Lunch (2021)
  • School Lunch: What’s On Your Playlist (2019)

How to Observe National School Lunch Week

Children, parents, teachers and so many others can get involved with National School Lunch Week by observing the event with some of these plans:

Celebrate Lunch All Week Long

Teachers, administrators and parents can get involved with National School Lunch Week by making some special efforts to decorate the lunch room and turn it into something beautiful! Perhaps the decorations could go along with the theme and kids could be given treats that make the lunches this week extra special. Maybe the kids could even be given extra time for play and fun during lunch this week.

Invite Special Guests to School Lunch

Make everything a bit more interesting by inviting a news anchor, musician, sports star or some other local celebrity to join the kids during school lunch. This is a fun way to provide inspiration and offer unique experiences for the children to have fun, learn something, and make a role model more accessible.

Offer Menu Tastings

Offering a school lunch is one thing, but getting the kids to eat it may be something else entirely! National School Lunch Week might be the ideal time to debut some new menu items and find out how the kids feel about them. Treat it like a fun adventure – and hopefully a nutritional one too!

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