Support Service Branch: Student Meal Program

Did you know that DoDEA schools participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program? That means that meals served must meet the same USDA regulations and guidelines as schools throughout the United States for nutrition and meal components to include meals with zero trans-fat and less than 10% saturated fat. One-half of the grains served are whole grains (and by school year 2014-2015 all grains served will be whole grain), and the vegetables served must include a variety of nutrient dense dark green and red-orange varieties and legumes (dried beans and peas). In addition, students who qualify under federal guidelines are provided free and reduced-price meals. Over 10 million meals are served annually in DoDEA schools throughout the United States and overseas. We encourage you to visit your school and eat a meal with your child in the cafeteria.

The Student Meal Program in DoDEA schools overseas is operated by the Exchange on Army and Air Force installations, NEX on Navy installations and the Marines in Iwakuni. Together, they provide 58,000 student meals daily to DoDEA students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade throughout Europe and the Pacific. The Student Meal Program in DoDEA schools in the United States (including Puerto Rico and Guam) is operated independently at each community by a Child Nutrition Director who oversees the cafeterias at each school.

Providing nutritious meals in our schools is a very important issue to DoDEA. In addition to meeting USDA nutrition requirements many schools are well on their way to creating a holistically healthy school environment for their students and staff. DoDEA is investing time and resources to not only review and improve the Student Meal Program, but we are also revising local school wellness policies and developing tools to assist school communities (students, teachers and parents) to implement local school wellness programs.

Three DoDEA school communities are participating in the DoD Healthy Base Initiative: Yokota, Japan; Quantico, Virginia; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Those three communities are among 13 military installations and agencies participating in a demonstration pilot aimed at increasing health and wellness of the total force, including civilians and family members. Within those three communities DoDEA will make specific efforts to encourage students to make nutritious food choices and increase their physical activity to assist in weight management. Read more about the Healthy Base Initiative and best practices. 

Information on Healthy Brown Bag Lunches -

Serve as liaison between DoD and USDA for the Free and Reduced Price Breakfast and Lunch Program.