Wellness Guidelines (Cont.)

  • Student at lunch table having nahos and milkSchool Meals:

    The school meal programs aim to improve the diet and health of schoolchildren, mitigate childhood obesity, model healthy eating to support the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns and support healthy choices while accommodating cultural food preferences and special dietary needs.

    1. All schools in the District will participate in the National School Lunch Program and Breakfast Program.
    2. All meals will, at a minimum, meet the New Meal Pattern requirements.
    3. Students will have access to free, potable water during meals and throughout the school day.
    4. Students will have sufficient amount of time (at least 15-20 minutes) to eat their meal after being seated.
    5. Through the implementation of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement techniques, schools will use methods for providing student and parent access to meal nutrition information; the District will encourage schools to post meal information and the menu at the school’s front office. The District will also encourage schools to include family access to information about qualifying for free or reduced price meals, and privacy protections for these students.
    6. The District will ensure that food service staff receive annual training.
    7. The District will encourage schools to ensure that meals are served in clean and pleasant settings and meals are served in a safe and presentable manner. 

    Competitive Foods and Beverages:

    Competitive foods and beverages are those foods that are sold outside of or in competition with federal reimbursable meal programs. 

    1. Federal regulation requires that all foods sold at school during the school day meet nutrition standards known as the USDA’s Smart Snack Standards. The standards apply to any food and beverage sold to students at schools during the school day, other than those foods provided as part of the school meal programs. Examples include à la carte items sold in the cafeteria and foods sold in school stores, snack bars, and vending machines. In addition, foods and beverages sold during fundraisers, unless these items are not intended for consumption at school.

    NOTE: The school day is defined as the midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the school day.

    Celebrations and Rewards:

    Arizona Law (ARS 15-242) referred to as Arizona Nutrition Standards states that all food and beverages supplied at school-sponsored events to students in K-8 must meet the USDAs Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines. These guidelines do not apply to foods brought to school in bagged lunches or for activities such as birthday parties, holidays, or other celebrations. 

    1. Nutrition standards for all foods and beverages provided, but not sold, at school-sponsored events must meet the USDA’s Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines.
    2. The District will encourage Principals to promote non-food items or only items that meet Smart Snack guidelines for celebrations, rewards, and classroom parties. 


    In Arizona, all fundraisers are exempted from the Smart Snacks guidelines when an exemption request form is submitted, per HNS-04-2015. However, regulations state that no exempted fundraiser foods or beverages may be sold in competition with school meals in the food service area during the meal service. Additional, Local Educational Agencies have the authority to implement more restrictive fundraising food standards.

    1. The District will not allow any fundraisers that sell foods or beverages to students on school campus during the school day that do not meet USDA’s Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines unless these items are not intended for consumption at school; for example, butter braids or cookie dough. 

    Food and Beverage Marketing in Schools:

    Food and beverage marketing is defined as advertising and other promotions in schools. Food and beverage marketing often includes an oral, written, or graphic statements made for the purpose of promoting the sale of a food or beverage product made by the producer, manufacturer, seller or any other entity with a commercial interest in the product. All products marketed on the school campus must, at a minimum, meet the Smart Snacks guidelines.

    1. All foods and beverages advertised on the school campus during the school day meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition guidelines. These guidelines apply:
      To vending machine exteriors.
      1. School equipment such as marquees, message boards, scoreboards and busses.
      2. Cups used for beverage dispensing, menu boards, coolers, trach cans, and other food service equipment.
      3. Posters, book covers, school supplies displays etc.
      4. Advertisements in school publications or mailings.
      5. Free product samples, taste tests, or coupons of a product or free samples displaying advertising of a product.
    2. The District will encourage schoolteachers, staff to model healthy eating, and physical activity behaviors particularly through professional development opportunities geared towards nutrition education.