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Food and Nutrition Programs

After School Meals

What are "After School Meals?"

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) offer cash reimbursement to help schools and after school care programs serve snacks and or suppers to children after their regular school day ends. After school meals give children a nutritional boost and draw them into supervised activities that are safe, fun, and filled with learning opportunities.

After school meals help ensure that children receive the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow. Organized, structured, and supervised programs that provide snacks allow children to think and behave better and help them make the grade!

Is My after School Care Program Eligible?

There are two different programs that you can operate to serve afterschool meals: NSLP After School Snack or CACFP At-Risk Snack. For a site to participate in NSLP after school snack, your school district must run the NSLP. For site to participate in CACFP At Risk After School Snack, your program must be "area eligible" (see definition below). Additionally, the after school care program must provide children with regularly scheduled educational or enrichment activities in a supervised environment. Contact our office for further information regarding program eligibility.

What Are the Nutrition Requirements for after School Meals?

Snacks must contain at least two different meal components of the following four: a serving of fluid milk; a serving of meat or meat alternate; a serving of vegetable(s) or fruit(s) or full strength vegetable or fruit juice; a serving of whole grain or enriched bread and/or cereal.

The nutrition standards for Suppers (available only through CACFP At Risk Afterschool snack) are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, science-based recommendations made by the National Academy of Medicine, cost and practical considerations, and stakeholder input. The standards support the service of a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, lean meats/meat alternative, and low-fat and fat-free dairy while minimizing added sugar and saturated fat. They require the service of all four meal components referenced above.

How Is "Area Eligible" Defined?

An after school care program site is "area eligible" if it is located at a school or in the attendance area of a school where at least 50 percent of the enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced price meals. For example, if a high school with less than 50 percent free or reduced price school enrollment is located in the attendance area of a middle school that has 50 percent or more of the enrolled children eligible for free or reduced price meals, then the afterschool care program located in the high school would be area eligible. Afterschool care programs can use free and reduced price meal data from elementary, middle, and high schools to document a site as "area eligible".

How Do I Apply for After-School Snacks?

Contact the school food service director in your school district or you can contact our office for more information.

Last Updated: August 11, 2022

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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