School Lunch Hero Day is held annually on the first Friday in May in honor of the cafeteria staff responsible for providing lunches and other meals to children across America.
Every day, school nutrition professionals must prepare and serve healthy meals for all students that follow national nutrition standards. These school nutrition professionals are true heroes. School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for parents, students, and other school staff members to thank those who provide healthy meals to nearly 30 million students each school day.
Federal nutrition standards ensure that school cafeterias always offer low-fat or fat-free milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein that meet limits on calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats.
Milk contributes important nutrients through its inclusion in school meals programs, as milk is a top source of 13 essential nutrients in the diets of America’s children.
Milk plays an important role in school meals through not only breakfast and lunch programs, but also growing supper programs and summer meal programs as a tasty, nutritious beverage.
For many children, school offered meals are the most important and nutrient-rich meals of their day. In 2017, 77% of daily milk consumption for low-income school-aged children came from their national school meal programs. These school meals bring students closer to meeting the nutrient recommendations for nutrients provided by milk that these age groups would otherwise fall short in.
Lunches are more important than we realize. Satiated and with the energy to learn, regular meals give children a higher chance of success in academics and contribute to children’s overall health.
School Lunch Hero Day showcases how the hard work of school nutrition professionals benefits every child who comes through the cafeteria line. The celebration is the perfect opportunity to recognize school cafeteria staff’s role in children’s success.
To learn more about milk’s role in school meal programs and how we assist lunchtime heroes every day, explore our Dairy in Schools section.