Giving Compass' Take:

• Revolution Foods is a company looking to offer healthier foods into school meal programs and change students' overall relationship with food. 

• What is the significance of providing students with healthier food? How can donors help companies make healthy meals accessible? 

• Read about a program that teaches students about healthy food. 

Children who lack access to healthy food options — at home and in schools — have a more difficult time learning. Kids who are hungry or not well nourished are more likely to have trouble focusing, exhibit behavioral problems, and struggle academically. We see this in classrooms and schools across the country, and for students of color, low-income students, and students with disabilities, going hungry compounds the challenges that they already face.

For many children, federal programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the National School Lunch Program are the only ways to access a healthy meal, whether breakfast, lunch or even supper. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 in 6 children face food insecurity. For students who live in neighborhoods where access to fresh, nutritious food is limited, the issue is compounded: 21.2 percent of black households and 16.2 percent of Hispanic households are food insecure. The evidence is clear; this a racial equity issue.

Investments are crucial to fill hungry tummies not only so that students can learn but also to break the cycle of inequity that children, their families and their communities systemically face.

Access is just one piece of the puzzle. The quality of the food that children receive in schools is just as important. Yet we’re taking steps backward when it comes to bridging access and quality. Last month, the USDA proposed a new set of rules that could impact the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which requires schools to increase offerings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Coupled with proposed cuts to federal meal programs like SNAP, students could lose access to healthy meals.

Revolution Foods is one such company, working to transform school meals, students’ dining experience and their overall relationship with food.

Read the full article about healthy meals in schools for kids by Kristin Groos Richmond and Cynthia Muller The 74.