Afterschool Meal Program

92% of children from low-income families eat some food after school and before dinner. Usually, it’s not all that healthy and often includes chips, cookies, or candy.

59% of low-income families say that it’s hard to provide food for their children to eat after school.

25% of low-income families worry that their children don’t have enough to eat between lunch and breakfast the following day.

Children need a safe place with structured activities, supportive adults, and good nutrition once school is out and parents are still at work. Afterschool meal programs provide students with the nutrition they need, and draw them into constructive activities that are safe, fun, and filled with opportunities for learning. School-aged children have a higher daily intake of fruits, vegetables, milk, and key nutrients including calcium, vitamin A, and folate on days they eat after-school meals compared to days they do not, according to the Food Research & Action Center. Afterschool meals and snacks are available through the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the National School Lunch Program and accompany educational or enrichment activities.

When establishing an afterschool meal program, you will want to consider the following.

  1. Determine the appropriate meal model for your students and school.

  2. Develop a nutritious and well-accepted menu.


Afterschool meal program

Many schools offer an afterschool meal program in order to provide a safe place with structured activities, supportive adults, and good nutrition while decreasing food insecurity. This toolkit is intended for school food service professionals who are looking to implement or revamp an after-school meal program. It includes reimbursable meal requirements, meal service ideas, a grab n’ go menu with product lists, and resources for additional information.