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 provide training and technical assistance and 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 the Alliance’s Tools
The Alliance has tools you can use align the food and beverages you serve 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 the Alliance’s 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 menus – use this 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 post cards to promote your Summer Food Service Program!
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. Now you’re ready to tackle procurement.