How Much Does School Lunch Cost?
No matter which school your child attends, a school lunch is going to be available for purchase. If you don’t wish to purchase a lunch through the school cafeteria, the student may also choose to pack a lunch and bring it with them from home. The cost of a school lunch is going to vary depending on the school’s location, the items being purchased and the parent’s income level.
How much is it?
- On average, a lunch at school can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3.50. These lunches will generally include two to three different choices. On top of the main meal, additional sides such as fruit and vegetables can be chosen.
- For example, the Chaparral Elementary in Calabasas, California charges $3.50 per day for lunch. The Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia charge $2.65 for lunch and $1.50 for breakfast.
- The government has a National School Lunch Program that is a federally assisted meal program that assists children that meet certain income levels. If a parent meets these income levels, the lunch is either free or less than the standard price. As of 2011, if your family income was between $28,655 and $40,793, a lunch will be less than $0.40. If the income is below $28,655, the lunch may be free.
- If you choose to pack a lunch, the cost will be about $2 per lunch packed. This may include items such as a sandwich, fruit, granola bar, etc.
What are the extra costs?
- Breakfast and additional snacks will be extra. These can cost anywhere from $1 to $2.
- Meals will generally come with a milk or some sort of beverage. Sodas and other drinks that come in a vending machine for example will cost extra.
- Additional items that you want with your meal such as a cookie or brownie will cost extra.
- Adult meals are going to cost around $1 to $2 more than the children’s meal.
What is going to be included?
- Most schools will generally offer up to 3 meals a day. For example, some schools may offer a few of the same things each day such as a burger, fries and/or pizza. A calendar is generally handed out at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of the month. The food schedule can also be found on most schools’ websites.
- Some schools will allow students to carry a school debit card. The meals will be charged to the student’s card. Upon the end of the end of the month, the bill will be sent to the parent. Total meal charges for the month can range from $25 to $90 per month, depending on what has been purchased.
How can I save money?
- Check with the Federal government program to see if your child qualifies for a lunch.
- Packing a lunch is not only going to be cheaper, but it is going to be a lot healthier. While schools are trying to become healthier, some are many years behind when it comes to providing a nutritious meal.