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Universal Meal Programs Improve Student Behavior

Better 4 You Meals

Food service supplier Better 4 You Meals delivers fresh, nutritionally balanced meals to school districts in the California counties of San Bernardino and Los Angeles. Better 4 You Meals supports initiatives that increase participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), including universal meal programs.

Universal meal programs, or “free for all” food programs, eliminate many of the obstacles that prevent children from participating in the school meal program. Some children who are eligible for reduced-price or free lunches are not able to participate in the NSLP because of missing paperwork or a fear of being labeled “poor” by their classmates. Universal meal programs reduce this stigma and enable students to feel more comfortable accepting school meals.
In addition to the academic benefits, such as higher test scores, that accompany a nutritious diet, universal meal programs have been linked to a reduction in the number of suspensions in young students. Researchers attribute this drop to a less stressful school environment, with students accessing much-needed food without revealing their socioeconomic situations.

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