3.9.4 School Meals by Student Nutrition Services (SNS)

School Meals by Student Nutrition Services (SNS)

SFUSD’s Student Nutrition Services provides nutritionally balanced meals to students in our Early Education and TK-12 schools.

Student Nutrition Services (SNS) is committed to providing students the equitable support they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond, by keeping them nourished along the way. We strive to create a student-centered, equitable, and financially stable school food ecosystem with thriving employees that provides dignified meal experiences and engages all students in a positive food culture. 

In California we have a policy called California Meals for All.  This means meals are served at no cost to all students.  

  • Breakfast and lunch is served at no cost by SFUSD’s Student Nutrition Services.
  • No pre-enrollment is required for a student to receive free meals.
  • See your school’s bell schedule for meal service times.
  • Save time and money by taking advantage of free school meals! Your participation helps direct Federal funds to San Francisco and supports the meal program to improve and expand.

School meals are served by SNS Dining Staff at SFUSD school cafeterias and kitchens. They make up a team of over 200 dedicated people who care deeply about the health of all students; our work wouldn’t be possible without their leadership, expertise, and historical knowledge.

Learn more about our meal programs and initiatives at sfusd.edu/nutrition.

The District’s nutrition guidelines meet or exceed the standards outlined in Federal, State, and local policies established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and California Department of Education (CDE). We align our procurement practices with the Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP), supporting our commitment to the health and equity of our students and our food system.

Our operations are funded through reimbursements from Federal and State governments, local sales, and the SFUSD General Fund. Our innovation projects are funded by the Someland Foundation, No Kid Hungry, the San Francisco Sugary Drinks Distributor Tax and SF 2016 General Obligation Bond.

See chapter 3.11 for the Multipurpose Family Income Form to determine eligibility for free or reduced school benefits. The form is not required to receive free school meals, but can help you qualify for other school fee waivers or city benefits and can help SFUSD schools qualify for after school supper and summer meals!

Contact Us

Website: www.sfusd.edu/schoolfood

Office location: 841 Ellis St. San Francisco, CA 94109

Email: SchoolLunch@sfusd.edu 

Phone: (415) 340-1716

Follow us on social media: @SFUSDschoolfood


What Food Is Served at School?

We serve breakfast and lunch at all schools. Snack and supper are available at select schools and afterschool programs.

Every day we strive to provide access throughout the school day to food that is healthy, culturally diverse, affordable, fair, sustainable and loved by students. Each meal includes:

  • A choice of meat or vegetarian entrée. The type of meat is clearly labeled on all menus.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • Optional 1% or fat-free milk.  Water stations are available in or near the cafeteria.

We strive to source local and sustainable products whenever possible, including California-grown produce and products from local small businesses. View menus at www.sfusd.edu/menus.

  • If you would like to purchase individual items without the complete free meal (such as milk or whole fruit only), Parents/Guardians need to first set up an account at SchoolCafe.com to upload funds. The complete balanced meal is what can be offered for free to students.
  • SNS offers bagged lunches for school field trips. This order is placed by teachers or school staff when they schedule the field trip.

We're increasing the number of meals we are providing through our in-house menu program. The McAteer Culinary Center, a full-scale kitchen renovated in Fall 2019, serves independently-located Early Education sites and the two high schools on campus (The Academy and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts).  We're upgrading equipment at various schools to prepare more freshly made meals in-house. As facilities are upgraded to prepare and serve fresh food, our procurement practices can improve as well. We can purchase high-quality food and ingredients in alignment with the Good Food Purchasing Program, allowing us to nourish our students with more local and sustainable menu options.

At schools with limited kitchen facilities, Student Nutrition Services partners with outside vendors to provide daily delivery of meals. All meals meet SFUSD's Nutrition Guidelines.

Nutrition Guidelines

All meals served in SFUSD meet and exceed state and federal standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and California Department of Education (CDE). See our guidelines at www.sfusd.edu/bewell. SNS sources high-quality ingredients and all meals are free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, MSG, benzoates, bromates, sulfites, hydrogenated fat, BHA, BHT, TBHQ and sodium nitrites/nitrates.

Special Dietary Needs

SFUSD does not serve any items with peanuts or tree nuts. However, we do bring in products that may be produced in facilities that handle and process nuts, so we cannot guarantee that meals are completely free of traces of nuts, or nut residue. SFUSD will provide food substitutions to a child with a disability, including those with dietary restrictions, when the need for a substitution is supported by a written medical statement or completed California Department of Education medical statement form.  The form must be signed by a licensed physician, a physician assistant, or a nurse practitioner, and can be downloaded at www.sfusd.edu/specialmeals.

The written medical statement must clearly identify/include the following details:

  • Information about the child’s physical or mental impairment that is sufficient to allow SFUSD to understand how it restricts the child’s diet.
  • Diet prescription or an explanation of what must be done to accommodate the child.
  • Food(s) to be omitted from the child’s diet.
  • Food or choice of foods that must be substituted in the child’s meals.

The fluid milk substitution form can be completed and signed by the student's parent/legal guardian.

Submit the completed dietary request forms by email to SchoolLunch@sfusd.edu. Please allow up to 10 business days for special diet orders to be available at your school. Please note that SFUSD does not offer special dietary accommodations due to diet preferences that are not considered a disability, such as religious beliefs, moral reasons, taste preferences, or lifestyle choices. Student Nutrition Services values providing a variety of protein sources on our menu and offer a vegetarian option daily.

For more information about Special Dietary Needs, including the California Department of Education medical statement forms and how to access allergen and nutrient reports, visit www.sfusd.edu/specialmeals.


San Francisco Unified is the second school district in the nation to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP), a 5-value framework that uses the power of procurement to promote transparent and equitable food practices. As the largest public food provider in San Francisco, Student Nutrition Services has the opportunity to participate in a national shift toward a healthier food system. Learn more at www.goodfoodpurchasing.org.


See the full Handbook and downloadable, translated PDFs at sfusd.edu/Handbook.

This page was last updated on August 16, 2023