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. 

Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, thanks to the new California Meals for All Program we will continue to serve meals for free to all students. No pre-enrollment is required for a student to receive free meals.

  • Breakfast and Lunch served by SFUSD’s Student Nutrition Services are offered to all SFUSD students at no cost
  • Save time and money by taking advantage of free school meals! Your participation keeps Federal funds here in San Francisco and supports the meal program to improve and expand.
  • See your school’s bell schedule for meal service times.

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.

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. Meals include daily choices of meat or vegetarian entrées, fresh fruits and vegetables, and optional 1% or fat-free milk. The type of meat is clearly labeled on all menus.  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.
  • Water stations are available in or near the cafeteria.

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, the two high schools on campus (The Academy and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts), and will prepare fresh meals for select elementary schools receiving upgraded kitchen facilities through Bond Modernization projects. At our middle and high schools, we're upgrading equipment 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 meals. For example, meals provided by a local company that meet SFUSD’s quality standards, are packaged at their facility in San Lorenzo, CA, refrigerated, and delivered daily to various schools.

Nutrition Guidelines

All meals served at school meet and exceed state and federal standards designed to fuel your students throughout the day. 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 and/or milk substitutions to a child whose food allergies, intolerances, or disabilities restrict their diet. The need for a substitution must be supported by a California Department of Education medical statement form, which can be downloaded at www.sfusd.edu/specialmeals.

The meal accommodation form must:

  • be signed by a licensed physician, a physician assistant, or a nurse practitioner;
  • describe the specific diet or accommodation that has been prescribed by the healthcare professional;
  • and list specific foods that must be omitted and suggested substitutions.

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

Submit complete 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 individual food or milk substitutions for non-disability, non-medical reasons, such as for food preferences or religious or moral reasons. 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.

This page was last updated on September 29, 2022