Top 5 Reasons to Participate in the National School Lunch Program

Cent$ible Nutrition News • September 2020 • Volume 23 | Number 7

Getting everyone ready, breakfast eaten, lunch made, and out the door on time can be hectic on school mornings. If you’re feeling a little stressed out, think about using the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Registering your child in their school’s meal programs can help decrease the morning stress. It is also good for your food budget and your child’s health. Learn more with our Top 5 Reasons to Participant in the NSLP!

1. Less stress

Most schools in Wyoming provide school lunch and many also provide school breakfast. When your child eats at school, it means there is less to do in the morning before school, meaning less stress for you. Using the school meal programs also makes your weekly menu planning a little easier because there are fewer family meals to plan each week.

2. Budget friendly

Add a little more to your family food budget by using the NSLP. If your family qualifies for SNAP Benefits, Head Start, or TANF, the NSLP is free. If your family qualifies for WIC or CNP classes, the NSLP is available at 40 cents or less a lunch. If you aren’t sure if your family qualifies, contact your local school district to learn more.

By using free or reduced-lunch, you have more money in your family food budget, making it easier to make healthy meals at home.

3. Healthy plates

The NSLP is focused on providing healthy meals for kids. School meals are balanced and include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy choices, protein, and whole-grains. Meals are also ‘right-sized’ meaning they are the right portion size and amount of calories for children, based on their age.

4. Full kids learn better

When home budgets are tight, it can be hard to make sure everyone has enough food to thrive. The NSLF helps families make sure kids have enough to eat, which helps them do better in school, be active, and stay healthy.

5. Chance to try new foods

The NSLP follows guidelines to make sure that healthy foods are part of school meals. Some of these food may be new to your child. Trying them at school with their friends and classmates may help them enjoy new foods, which makes planning healthy meals at home all the easier!

In addition to these benefits, using the NSLP may help your child’s school qualify for other resources, like having the Cent$ible Nutrition Program’s youth programs come to the school.

Learn more about the NSLP in Wyoming in this video discussion with Tamra Jackson from the Wyoming Department of Education.

Download this newsletter as a PDF. 


September's Feature Recipe

salad serving in small white bowl

Broccoli Raisin Salad

This crunchy salad with a simple homemade dressing helps you add more green to your meals. It is easy to put together and uses just a few ingredients, which you might already have on hand!

Broccoli is the CNP feature food on Facebook this month. Learn more about broccoli (including how to encourage your kids to LOVE it) in our new Facebook video series, In the Kitchen with CNP!


* The Cent$ible Nutrition Program is funded by USDA SNAP-Ed and EFNEP. SNAP-Ed assists individuals and families who receive, or are eligible to receive, benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). EFNEP assists families and youth with limited resources  in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and changed behaviors necessary for nutritionally sound diets and contributes to their personal development and the improvement of total family diet and nutritional welfare. Visit our income-qualification page to learn more. 

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program-EFNEP. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The full nondiscrimination statement can be found here

Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

The University of Wyoming is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

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