In the United States, school meals are a vital source of nutrition for millions of children. Yet many students do not have access to these meals because they cannot afford to pay for them. There are a few reasons why school meals should be free, but the main reason is that all families, whether they have it better or not, have access to the same nutritious meals to focus on in school. Here are three reasons why school meals should be free for all students.
When Did School Lunch Start being Implemented in Schools?
The first school lunch program was implemented in Boston and Philadelphia in 1894, with other school districts following suit over the next few decades. In addition, Philadelphia started the lunch program, initially designed to provide a nutritious meal for poor children who would otherwise go hungry, so they offered hot meals for pennies.
However, it soon became apparent that school lunches had the potential to improve the overall health and well-being of all students. Studies have shown that well-nourished children are better able to concentrate and learn in school. Furthermore, school meals can help to reduce disparities in educational outcomes by providing all students with the same opportunity to succeed. As a result, school lunch programs have become an essential part of the education system in the United States.
School lunches began to evolve by allowing schools to hand out pre-packaged meals and using heaters as stoves for families in rural areas who, at the time, couldn’t have easy access to hot meals.
However, free school meals for students all over the country started to gain more traction once the Obama administration implemented efforts to offer nutritious meals in schools.
More schools started to see the value of implementing school meals for free but didn’t know how to set the wheels in motion.
Instead, California is beginning to lead the way by creating a universal meals program across the state. Hopefully, more states will look into this, giving more families access to nutritious hot meals.
3 Reasons Why School Meals Should be Free
It gives All Children the Chance to Eat Nutritious Meals
First, school meals provide essential nutrients for children to grow and develop properly. Many students come from families who cannot afford to give them a nutritious diet at home. So, school meals may be their only source of healthy food. Children from low-income families are less likely to perform academically if hungry, but providing them with free nutritious school meals can help them retain their energy and focus.
School meals allow children to try balanced foods their families might not access. The meals schools provide, depending on the quality, also give families ideas on what meals they can make at home and how to make them.
These meals often include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. In addition, nutritious school meals are typically low in sugar and unhealthy fats; This diet can help children stay healthy and focus in school but also help with exercise. Schools providing free meals also allow families to save money to give kids meals for field trips, after school programs, sports, rehearsals, and more.
School Lunches Give Children the Chance to Socialize
School meals provide children with the opportunity to socialize and learn table manners. Eating together is integral to childhood development, and school meals can help facilitate this. Socializing is especially important for young children who are still developing their social skills, and being able to talk to old friends and contact new potential friends is essential.
School meals also give students the chance to learn how to share, communicate feelings, and resolve conflicts.
In addition, school meals give children a chance to try new foods and expand their palates. In addition, many school districts offer various menu options, including vegetarian and vegan dishes, to accommodate different dietary needs. By providing healthy and delicious school meals, we can ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow and thrive.
Free School Meals Reduce Burden on Low-Income Families
For many low-income families, school meals are the only guarantee that their children will get a hot meal during the day. In addition to providing essential nutrition, school meals also help reduce families’ financial burden.
With school meals, parents no longer need to worry about packing a lunch or buying food for their children so they can save money on other supplies or other meals throughout the year. As a result, free school meals play an essential role in supporting low-income families and ensuring they have proper materials.
Schools also get to have the chance to run food drives with leftover food throughout the year and hand it out to low-income families so they can have high-quality, nutritious food when school is closed during the school year.
Student Hires Programs
At Student Hires, we believe that all young people deserve the opportunity to explore their career interests and gain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce.
That’s why we offer a variety of hands-on experiential learning programs led by college students. Our programs are designed to increase the career readiness of disadvantaged youth in our community and provide a unique opportunity for young people to learn about different careers firsthand.
In addition to exploring different career options, our programs also help young people develop essential skills such as teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. In addition, we are committed to preparing the next generation of leaders for success in the workforce, and we are proud to offer these innovative programs to the youth of our community.
While there are many benefits to providing free school meals, the most important one may be that it helps level the playing field for all students. By removing one more obstacle in the way of a student’s education, we can help ensure every child has an opportunity to succeed. What do you think? Are school meals something that all schools hand out for free? Let us know in the comments below.