The National School Lunch Program

— Written By
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

As a new school year begins, how are you supporting the success of schools in your county? The National School Lunch Program is an important part of the school day for most of the students across North Carolina. More than half of parents in our state lack the financial resources to provide school lunches for their children without assistance, according to federal data, a situation that has worsened in recent years. 

Most children in North Carolina participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which provides no cost and reduced-cost school lunches to eligible families. However, lack of knowledge about the program or forgetting to reapply each year are the biggest reasons that children miss out on the meals.

Adults showing a child a nutrition flyer

How do no cost or reduced cost lunches help? One lunch meets one-third of the daily nutritional needs of most children. Healthy eating patterns translate into academic performance, making these school meals a win-win. There are additional benefits for the school based on the number of students who receive no cost or reduced cost lunches, including reduced costs on technology services, testing fees, and college application fees.

Students at schools participating in NSLP can learn more about food with additional programs that are supported through USDA, like SNAP-Ed and EFNEP. Many Extension Educators are involved in these programs across the state and work closely with their School Health Advisory Committees (SHAC) to implement strategies and programs to support healthy eating and physical activity in their classrooms.

In Brunswick County, the FCS Agent, EFNEP Educator, and 4-H Program Assistant partnered with the county school system to provide training to PE teachers on “Creating Healthy Food and Physical Activity Environments in Schools” and introduce nutrition and health curriculum offered by Cooperative Extension. One result from this informative day is that all Brunswick County Elementary Schools have colorful signage and floor clings that encourage healthy choices. Circle time for children learning about nutrition

The Steps to Health Color Me Heathy program encourages childrento experience and fruits and vegetables through exploration using taste, smell, sight, and touch. Fun songs with focused messages encourage children to get up and be active! To further the educational experience, many sites have incorporated the annual NC Crunch Day to their calendars in October. Some schools have started gardens where children learn how vegetables grow.

Nutrition Education, Farm to School Programs, and enhanced built environments around food and nutrition are all important parts of teaching students about food, how it is grown, and the importance of fruits and vegetables in our lives. Building partnerships with these groups is a great way to help those in your county make the healthy choice the easy choice. Children in the garden looking at produce


School Lunch Programs Becoming More Essential for North Carolina Families

School Lunch Resources

School Resources

Carolina Hunger Initiative Nutrition Newsletter