Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Meals Initiative Implementation Study: Third Year Report

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are key components of a national policy designed to safeguard and promote the nutritional well-being of the Nation’s children. The programs are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), operating through state agencies (SAs) that have agreements with the local school systems in their States. Despite the progress that has been achieved over the years in enhancing the quality of school meals, results of research conducted in the early 1990s indicated that school meals, on balance, were failing to meet certain key nutritional goals. In light of these findings, the USDA launched a far-reaching reform of the school meals programs, a reform aimed at upgrading the nutritional content of school meals. The reform began in late 1993 with public hearings followed by a proposed rule in 1994 and a final rule in 1995. The several elements of this reform are collectively referred to as the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children (SMI). The status of this initiative, together with an examination of selected operational issues of these programs, are the principal subjects of this report.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Availability of Fresh Produce In Nutrition Assistance Programs

Fruit and vegetable consumption is an important component of a balanced diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Food Guide Pyramid. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) promotes the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, in all forms – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and juices, through its nutrition assistance programs.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
School Lunch Salad Bars

This report fulfills a request to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) from the Appropriations Committee Directives, Fiscal Year 2002. As requested, this report compares the availability of fruits and vegetables in schools with and without salad bars using data from the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study, Part II (SNDA-II), which were collected during the School Year (SY) 1998-99. SNDA-II data enables us to examine the choice and variety of foods offered at salad bars, but not the quantity in a typical serving or the amount consumed.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
State Monitoring of National School Lunch Program Nutritional Content

This study was conducted within RAND's Center for the Study of Food and Nutrition Policy as part of RAND's Child Nutrition Analysis Project (CNAP) with the United States "Nutritional Monitoring Data". This document reports on the study of state nutritional monitoring data and should be of benefit to those interested in the operations of child nutrition programs.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Meals Initiative Implementation Study: First Year Report

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are central parts of a national policy designed to safeguard the nutritional well-being of the Nation’s children. The programs are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), operating through State agencies (SAs) that have agreements with the local school systems in their States. Despite the progress that has been achieved over the years in enhancing the quality of school meals, results of research conducted in the early 1990s indicated that school meals, on balance, were not meeting certain key nutritional goals. In late 1993, the USDA launched a far-reaching reform of the school meals programs, a reform aimed at upgrading the nutritional content of school meals. The several elements of this reform are collectively referred to as the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children (SMI), the principal subject of this report.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Study of Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program

The NSLP offers free and reduced-price school meals to students from eligible households. Households with incomes at or below 130 percent of poverty are eligible for free meals, and households with incomes between 131 percent and 185 percent of poverty are eligible for reduced-price meals. Traditionally, to receive these benefits, households had to complete and submit application forms to schools or be directly certified. Direct certification, on the other hand, is a method of eligibility determination that does not require families to complete school meal applications. Instead, school officials use documentation from the local or state welfare agency that indicates that a household participates in AFDC or food stamps as the basis for certifying students for free school meals.