School Lunches

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For millions of U.S. students, a hot meal has been part of the school day since Congress passed the National School Lunch Program in 1946. But with many items on today's menus crammed with fat and calories, educators are taking a cue from the local-food movement to put school lunches on a healthier path.

The National School Lunch Program, intended to prevent the return of Depression-era child malnourishment, allowed the government to buy surplus food from farmers and set minimum nutritional values for each meal. Its budget grew under Eisenhower and Nixon, but the Reagan Administration slashed it by...

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