GOOD

Inside the Fight for Free, Healthy School Food

“No child should be too hungry to learn.” #projectliteracy

This story is part of an ongoing campaign called the Alphabet of Illiteracy. By using letters themselves—the foundation of reading and writing—Project Literacy examines the ways illiteracy underpins some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. Below, we explore the letter M, for Malnutrition. Learn more about the relationship between nutrition and human potential when you click on the letter M.

Image courtesy of Magic Breakfast

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How Nutrition Programs Can Improve Literacy in Afghanistan

Nutritional investment in Afghanistan aims to boost literacy as well as agriculture. #projectliteracy

Giving soymilk to young students in Afghanistan. Image courtesy Nutrition & Education International.

Education is a top priority in postwar Afghanistan. Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan government and international partners have been working hard to open schools and raise student enrollment rates, especially among girls. Millions of children and youth have gained access to educational opportunities, but many still lack basic resources. Teachers, school buildings, and textbooks are all in short supply—and so is food, the fuel needed to power the human brain.

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School Food Is Healthier Than Ever. Will It Stay That Way?

Out with the beef and cheese nachos; in with the oranges and yogurt.

School staff and students enjoying a lunch menu created to meet new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia. U.S. Department of Agriculture photo by Lance Cheung via Flickr.

U.S. school food has earned a bad rep—much of it deserved. For decades, many school cafeterias relied on high-calorie processed foods: think frozen fish sticks, plastic-wrapped cookies, and plates devoid of fresh fruits and veggies. At the same time, budget-strapped administrators allowed vending machines to be stocked with soda and junk food. Many students ate diets packed with fat and sugar, and short on key nutrients like fiber. The consequences have become apparent: experts have speculated that American kids might be the first generation in history to die younger than their parents—and obesity is to blame.

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