After-school snack component of USDA's National School Lunch Program is growing

A chart showing the amount of snacks served through the National School Lunch Program.

In fiscal year 2010, 219 million after-school snacks were served to children through USDA's National School Lunch Program (NSLP), up from 139 million in 2003. Schools that participate in the NSLP can choose to offer nutritious snacks as part of after-school care programs that provide educational or enrichment activities. Over 90 percent of the 2010 snacks were served in schools with high percentages of low-income students. Snacks provided to students who qualify for free school meals receive a 76-cent subsidy for the 2011-12 school year, versus subsidies of 38 cents and 7 cents, respectively, for snacks provided to students qualifying for reduced-price and full-price school meals. Schools in which at least 50 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals are "area eligible" and receive the 76-cent subsidy for all participating students. This chart appeared in "Feeding Children After School: The Expanding Role of USDA Child Nutrition Programs" in the March 2012 issue of ERS's Amber Waves magazine.

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