Snack, Supper & Summer

Out-of-school time is a fantastic opportunity to reinforce the nutrition messages students receive throughout the school day and ensure students are getting the nutrition they need to succeed when school is not in session.

When schools and out-of-school time programs work together to support students' health, everyone benefits; students gain access to healthy, nutritious snacks and meals and school nutrition departments can take advantage of additional revenue sources while boosting nutrition for the kids in their care. 

 

4 Steps to Turn Your School into a Nutrition Hub  

 
Step 1: Understand the USDA Meal Patterns 

Do you know which U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards to follow to comply with related to afterschool snack, supper and summer feeding programs? Does your state have additional standards in place? 

Understanding the meal patterns that guide these programs is a critical first step. 

 

Step 2: Connect With Your State Agency 

Your state agency is the go-to organization for child nutrition programs. They oversee the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Programs and provide training and technical assistance. They are well-versed in the implementation of these programs in out-of-school time sites like yours. 

To participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or Summer Food Service Programs, connect with your state agency contacts.  

 

Step 3: Check Out Our Tools 

Use our tools to ensure the food and beverages you serve align with national standards:  

Smart Food Planner 

Plan healthy menus, find new recipes, browse compliant products and more with this interactive tool. Create personalized product lists, save favorite recipes and learn new ideas from other school districts. 

Smart Snacks Product Calculator 

Use the Smart Snacks Product Calculator to take away the guesswork. This is the only tool verified by the USDA as accurate for assessing compliance with the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. 

 

Step 4: Engage Your School Community & Revise Your Local Wellness Policy 

Take a look at your district’s local wellness policy. What does it say about participation in afterschool snack, supper, or summer food service programs? Is your school required to participate?  If so, are there any standards in the policy that require your programs to go above and beyond national standards? If your district’s wellness policy could use an update, check out our Model Wellness Policy, which was approved by the USDA to use as a template. 

Find out what your students want to see on the afterschool snack and meal menu – use our Afterschool Snack Survey to get their input! 

For more ideas, visit No Kid Hungry’s Center for Best Practices to find resources to engage your school community. 

And check out USDA Summer Food, Summer Moves Toolkit for templates of posters, flyers, and postcards to promote your Summer Food Service Program! 

 

Next Step:

Once you’ve updated your policies, connected with your state agency, and worked with your students and school community to make changes to your school meals programs, it's time to tackle procurement