10 Healthiest School Lunch Plans


Promise Academy, New York City

Peanut butter is not on the menu.
Peanut butter is not on the menu.
Sean Locke/Getty Images

This Harlem charter school's lunch program includes a wide range of healthy, unprocessed food. Students enjoy from-scratch lunches like turkey lasagna with fresh zucchini, whole-wheat pasta with local squash, or Swiss chard.

The school chef eschews processed cheese and peanut butter, preferring to spend part of the food budget on fresher, local food. As part of their nutrition education, students learn not only how to eat healthier, but also how fast-food chains use marketing tricks to attract children as customers. Food service personnel teach the kids what a healthy portion looks like -- students are not allowed second helpings on main courses, but may eat as many vegetables and salads as they want.

The school also holds monthly "farmer's markets" in the cafeteria, and offers cooking classes that parents and children can take together.