Special Education M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Cavalier, Meg

Second Reader

Erin Wanat;


This literature review examined the history of the National School Lunch Program from its inception to now. Ongoing questions and concerns related to food waste from school lunches have been explored by many researchers to understand its effect on the health of students, the environment, and the economy. Updates to the National School Lunch Program, specifically the authorization of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, were implemented to align school lunches with the current United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutrition guidelines and standards. Causes of food waste include the Offer Versus Serve model, order of recess and lunch, length of the lunch period, portion sizes and education, and the appeal or appearance of the food. Factors that reduce food waste include education, promotional campaigns, hands-on food waste-related activities, and school gardens. Targeting education to the environment, agriculture, nutrition, and health are effective ways to appeal to the needs of the world they live in and the people they love. Many nonprofit organizations have been established to bring awareness to the damaging effects of food waste. Many schools are also trying to establish programs, policies, and procedures to reduce food waste. Obstacles to educational endeavors are the time, energy, staffing, and funding needed to establish and continue food waste reduction initiatives.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis