School Nutrition: Healthy Eating Options in Schools

The AAFP believes that sound nutrition is a cornerstone of health and should be reflected in all dietary offerings/options in schools, (e.g. food service, meals, vending, outside contractors, etc.). Items of little or no nutritional value should be replaced with healthy alternatives.(2005)

1. Students, parents, educators, family physicians, school nurses, and community leaders should be involved in assessing the schools’ eating environment, developing a shared vision and an action plan to achieve it.
2. Adequate funds should be provided by local, state and federal sources to ensure that the total school environment supports the development of healthy eating patterns.
3. Behavior-focused nutrition education should be integrated into the curriculum from pre-K through grade 12 and staff who provide nutrition education will have appropriate training.
4. Schools should be encouraged to incorporate school gardens and locally grown foods.
5. School meals should meet the USDA nutrition standards as well as provide sufficient choices, including new foods and food prepared in new ways, to meet the taste and cultural preferences of diverse student populations.
6. All students should have designated meal periods of sufficient length to enjoy healthy foods with friends and these lunch periods will be scheduled as near the middle of the school day as possible.
7. Schools should provide enough serving areas to ensure student access to school meals with a minimum of wait time.
8. Space that is adequate to accommodate all students and pleasant surroundings that reflect the value of the social aspects of eating should be provided.
9. Students, teachers and community volunteers who practice healthy eating should be encouraged to serve as role models in the dining areas.
10. If foods are sold in addition to National School Lunch Program meals, they should be from the five major food groups to foster healthy eating patterns.
11. Decisions regarding the sale of foods in addition to the National School Lunch Program meals should be based on nutrition goals, not on profit-making. (2004)  (April 2015 BOD)