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The California Department of Education (CDE) helps schools, child care programs, and other community programs provide healthy meals and snacks to children. Almost every school in California serves lunch to its students. Some schools also serve breakfast and snacks. A child may be able to get free meals or meals at a very low cost.

  • Learn more about free or low-cost meals that may be available to your child by contacting your local school district, day care program, or homeless shelter. To find contact information for your school, go to the CDE California School Directory Web page.
  • The Program Overview - CalEdFacts page provides access to nutrition services offered in California schools and child care programs.
  • The links and information below were developed for educators and others who are directly involved with nutrition services programs in California.

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Meal Programs | Education, Training, and Professional Development | Program Resources | Latest Tweets

Meal Programs

  • School Nutrition
    The principal meal and milk programs offered at public and private nonprofit schools and residential child care institutions.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
    Information about meal programs offered at public and private child care centers, day care homes, adult day care centers, and homeless shelters under the CACFP.
  • After School
    Information and resources about healthy snacks, nutrition education, and physical activity for afterschool programs.
  • Summer Food Service
    Federal meal programs for children from low-income areas during vacation and off-track periods.

Education, Training, and Professional Development

Program Resources

  • Administrative Review
    An overview of the areas that will be reviewed during the administrative review by a Nutrition Program Consultant from the CDE Nutrition Services Division.
  • Appeal Process for Child Nutrition Programs
    An overview of the appeal process for the Child Nutrition Programs administered by the CDE.
  • Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS)
    The CNIPS is a web-based system for local sponsors of federal food programs to more easily submit and track the status of their applications, claims, changes, and commodity requests to the CDE.
  • Claim Reimbursements
    Fiscal information to aid nutrition sponsors and to provide information about claiming meal reimbursements.
  • Food Distribution
    Information about U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods, Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Program, distribution centers, and processing of USDA Foods.
  • Food Program Data
    Child Nutrition Programs data and statistics, including county profiles, free and reduced-price meals data, school meal nutrition analysis, and summer meal service sites.
  • Legislation, Regulations, and Policies
    State and federal regulations and other Child Nutrition Program guidance including management bulletins and policy memoranda, proposed regulations, legislative reports, and policy recommendations for nutrition program administration.
  • Procurement in Child Nutrition Programs
    Federal and state information for the procurement of food service related goods and services across all federally funded Child Nutrition Programs and the USDA Foods Program.
  • Rates, Eligibility Scales, and Funding
    Reimbursement rates, annual eligibility scales, and funding information.
  • USDA Civil Rights and Complaints
    U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) policies and procedures about nondiscrimination in the administration of the Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Programs.

CDE Nutrition on Twitter

For the latest CDE nutrition news and information, follow @CDENutrition External link opens in new window or tab. on Twitter.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, December 31, 2018
Related Content
  • Community Eligibility Provision
    The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) provides School Nutrition Program (SNP) sponsors an alternative method for claiming student meals in high poverty schools.
  • Competitive Foods and Beverages
    Information on competitive foods and beverages including definitions, background, compliance, resources, policy guidance, and frequently asked questions for sponsors participating in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program.
  • Drinking Water for Students in Schools
    Chapter 558 of the Statutes of 2010 (Senate Bill 1413, Leno) establishes California Education Code (EC) Section 38086, which requires school districts to provide access to free, fresh drinking water during meal times.
  • School Nutrition Programs Eligibility
    Each school year, local educational agencies must determine and certify a student’s eligibility to qualify for free and reduced-price meals or free milk benefits.
  • Summer Meal Service Sites
    Provides parents and referral agencies with a list of locations where children may receive free nutritious meals during school vacation and off-track periods.
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