Smarter Snacking for Students in Schools

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently proposed a new rule for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The new rule offers updated nutrition standards for snacks and beverages sold in schools through vending machines, a la carte, and school stores. The “Smart Snacks in Schools” rule hopes to limit the amount of nutritionally-poor foods and beverages that are still widely available in schools, such as sugary drinks and sodas.

Public comments on the rule are being accepted until April 9.

Over the last three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled, and many children are consuming more calories than they expend. Research shows that students consume 35-50% of their daily calories while at school. Unhealthy foods and beverages sold outside of school meals – such as pizza sold in the hallways after school – have a negative effect on students’ diets and weight. Recent research has found that the implementation of strong nutrition standards for snack and a la carte foods and beverages can not only decrease students’ consumption of unhealthy foods but also increase students’ access to, purchase of, and consumption of healthier options.

Earth Day Network supports this proposed rule and The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA)’s efforts to ensure it becomes as strong and functional as possible. If passed, this amendment could surround students with healthier food and beverage options and stem rising childhood obesity rates. EDN’s work on National School Lunch Week, and our commitment to greening every aspect of our nation’s schools – of which food choices are a big part – will only be helped by this initiative. We recognize that healthier schools produce healthier children, and in turn a healthier, more sustainable future.

Tell the USDA you agree here.