School Food Resources

School food has changed in recent years—for the better. But we need to make sure these healthy changes are being implemented in your school.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) have been working together for the past decade to transform the district’s school meal program. CPS and HSC know that students who eat healthier at school and at home have better attention spans, better class participation and higher test scores. This is why CPS, HSC and other partners have been working together to ensure that positive change for school food in Chicago is meaningful, sustainable and in the best interest of the students whose health and learning it directly affects.

Parent voices are key to this work. Through HSC’s Parents United for Healthy Schools program, parents develop the knowledge and skills to help bring about health-promoting changes at their children’s schools and reinforce healthy eating habits at home. Since 2006, Parents United has been at the forefront of helping make Chicago schools healthier places for their children. Parent leaders were instrumental in championing the Breakfast in the Classroom program at individual schools and at the district level. Parents have also tirelessly advocated for healthier school menus and supported schools’ successful efforts to achieve the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge, which later inspired the Healthy CPS School Indicator.

In 2013, CPS and HSC piloted and launched a series of School Food 101 workshops to raise awareness of the new changes to the school meal program, increase understanding of school meal basics and hear about how those changes are being implemented at the school level. We asked elementary school parents to survey their kids about the school meals they were receiving. From this learning process, CPS and HSC launched a comprehensive school meal survey for parents in the fall of 2014. The results from this survey made it clear that parents and school administrators needed more resources and information and ways to share their feedback. It’s with that need in mind that CPS and HSC partnered to create new resources around school food.

CPS has made great progress in ensuring students receive healthy food as part of their school experience. Food served in CPS now meets, and—in some cases—exceeds, the standards set out by the USDA. We need to make sure this great progress is reflected in the meal programs of all CPS schools.


Principal Toolkit: Getting the Most out of the CPS School Meal Program

Because principals and schools play such an important role in providing students with healthy food and educating them on healthy behaviors, we created this toolkit in partnership with Chicago Public Schools to give you a guide to making sure the school meal program is working as best as it can for your students.


Parent Checklist: What You Can Do to Improve Your School’s Food

This checklist includes items that CPS is committed to implementing as well as ideas and strategies to help create a school environment that is supportive of the school meal program and students’ efforts to eat healthy.


Lista de Verificación: Lo que Puede Hacer Para Mejorar la Comida de su Escuela

Esta lista de verificación incluye elementos que CPS se ha comprometido a incluir así como ideas y estrategias para ayudar a crear un ambiente escolar que apoye al programa de alimentación escolar y los esfuerzos de los estudiantes por comer sanamente.


Frequently Asked Questions: Chicago Public Schools’ School Meal Program

This document will address frequently asked questions about the school meal program from parents just like you. Want to know how CPS is reducing processed food? Want to know how you can get involved? You’ve come to the right place.


Preguntas Frecuentes: El Programa de Alimentación Escolar de las Escuelas Públicas de Chicago

Este documento abordará las preguntas más frecuentes sobre el programa de alimentación escolar de los padres como usted. ¿Quiere saber cómo CPS está reduciendo los alimentos procesados? ¿Quiere saber cómo puede participar? Usted ha venido al lugar correcto.

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