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School Nutrition

Tennessee's School Nutrition program is responsible for providing nutritious meals and snacks for students in public and private schools and residential and child care institutions

School Nutrition administers the USDA's National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Afterschool Snack Program across the state. All public schools in Tennessee are on the National School Lunch Program, which provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.

The USDA annually releases its policy for free and reduced-price meals. Please see this FAQ if you have additional questions.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has aligned school meals with the latest nutrition science and the real-world circumstances in America's schools.

Nutrition standards set forth by the USDA require most schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat and trans fat in meals; and meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements.

For a detailed description of these federal requirements, see the Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

  • Benefit to parents: an economical way to provide a significant amount of the student's daily nutritional requirements.
  • Benefit to teachers:  an increase in the student's willingness and ability to learn.
  • Benefit to schools:  as an integral part of education, it contributes substantially to the health and well-being of students.
  • Benefits to the local economy:  acts as a vast market for locally purchased foods, supplies, and equipment, as well as providing additional jobs in the community.
  • Benefits to the farmer:  utilizes available commodities in the lunch and breakfast meals.

Many schools and districts in Tennessee participate in the state's Local Foods for Local Schools program, partnering with the community's local food producers to serve locally grown foods in school cafeterias.

School Nutrition Program: Log In for Educators

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Community Eligibility Provision

USDA Community Eligibility Provision

Districts and Schools Eligible to participate in Community Eligibility Provisiondownload Excel file

Presentation (March 2014)

Download the webinar recording (.mp4 file)

Download the presentationdownload pdf file