Reduced-price meal

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Reduced-price meal (or reduced-price breakfast, lunch, supper, snack) is a term used in the US to describe a federally reimbursable meal (or snack) served to a child who applies for and qualifies because the family’s income is between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty threshold. Schools may not charge more than 40¢ for reduced-price lunches, nor more than 30¢ for reduced-price breakfasts.

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Potential effectiveness of the program has been reduced by students' selective consumption of meal servings (with resulting food waste):

"Plate waste was estimated from 899 lunch trays; 535 elementary and 364 middle-school students. Only 45% of elementary and 34% middle-school students selected a vegetable. Elementary-school students wasted more than a third of grain, fruit and vegetable menu items. Middle-school students left nearly 50% of fresh fruit, 37% of canned fruit and nearly a third of vegetables unconsumed. Less than half of the students met the national meal standards for vitamins A and C, or Fe."[1]

However, students who get few meals other than the ones provided by the school are still at risk of malnutrition.


  1. ^ Smith, SL; Cunningham-Sabo, L (Jun 2014). "Food choice, plate waste and nutrient intake of elementary- and middle-school students participating in the US National School Lunch Program". Public Health Nutrition. 17 (6): 1255–63. PMID 23866827. doi:10.1017/S1368980013001894.