Reasons to Choose School Meals This Year
Schools across Michigan are starting classes and students are returning to in-person learning.
As you get used to the new morning routine, one thing you may consider skipping is packing lunch. That’s because this school year, students in Michigan can eat a school meal, including milk, at no cost.
These free school meals—called Mighty Meals—provide students with healthy, delicious food to fuel their day, whether they are learning at school or virtually.
Lessons learned from the pandemic
Photo credit: Raj Mehta, Emily Rose Chene & Jordan Hay
If you’ve ever met the foodservice staff at your school, you know how much passion they have for feeding children.
During the COVID pandemic, these staff members have made a tremendous effort to provide students with a nourishing school meal. Their efforts have included figuring out meal pick-up sites for families, packaging up hundreds of meals for delivery and changing how and where kids eat meals at school to maintain social distancing.
During the pandemic, school meals have been free of charge to all students. This will continue during the 2021-2022 school year with Mighty Meals. School meals can help provide nutritious food to students, help parents save time and money by not having to pack lunches and allow students to enjoy a traditional school meal experience. Knowing your kids are getting a nutritious meal at school means you have one less thing to worry about during the stress of this continuing pandemic.
Are school meals healthy, though?
If you haven’t seen a school meal since you were in school, you may be pleasantly surprised by school meals today. There are national nutrition standards that school meals must meet, including amounts of fruits and vegetables that must be served and limited levels of sodium, fat and calories in meals.
As part of Mighty Meals, milk is included. In fact, milk contains a nutrient package unlike any other beverage. Students who drink one 8-oz carton of milk with a school meal receive eight more grams of protein, as well as other nutrients critical for kids and teens, compared to a school meal without milk. The milk served with a school meal counts as one of the three servings of dairy children aged nine and older need each day.
Follow your school’s social media accounts and read their newsletters to find out which meals are available through the school. For instance, breakfast, lunch, snack and supper may be offered as part of the Mighty Meals program. And if your family still plans on remote learning, ask your school if they are providing curbside meal pickup or multiday meal packs.
You can also opt-in for more information about Mighty Meals in your area.