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A federal expansion of the school lunch program instituted as a COVID-19 relief measure was set to expire June 30, but will continue through the summer thanks to last-minute congressional action. Students at Barbara Robey Elementary School enjoy lunch in this photo from 2017.

A pandemic-era program that greatly expanded access to school lunches won a last-minute extension through the summer, “fantastic” news for the tens of thousands of Arizona kids who have relied on those meals, advocates said. Read more»

The pandemic-era federal aid that made school meals available for free to all public school students — regardless of family income levels — is ending, raising fears about the effects in the upcoming school year for families already struggling with rising food and fuel costs.

Now that President Joe Biden has signed into law the Keep Kids Fed Act, adjusting how students can get their meals, school across the nation are struggling to fill the gaps as federal support for universal free meals soon ends. Read more»

Students at Hugh E. Laird Elementary in Tempe, in this October photo, were allowed to taste-test school lunches last year in an effort by the school district to get students to eat more healthy food.

The federal government wants to target childhood obesity with new limits for calories, sugar, fat and sodium on snacks sold in the nation’s schools via the Smart Snacks in School standards announced last week. Most Arizona school officials welcomed the change, saying the state adopted similar nutrition standards for all school foods – including snacks – in 2006. Read more»

With the passage of first lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 and new school lunch requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2011, America’s school menus are healthier than ever – even if kids aren’t always happy about it. Read more»

The Tucson Food Dude, Kevin Hall, adds a local perspective to growing national concerns about what we feed our kids. Read more»