Step 1: Know Your Venues
The best place to start is by getting organized. Where are snacks and beverages being sold to students in your school? Who is responsible for sale at each of these locations?
Think beyond your á la carte line in the cafeteria. Is the district business office responsible for vending machines? Does a student entrepreneurial class run the school store? Does the band have a snack cart? Are the sports teams responsible for spirit days to raise money at school?
The Venue Survey Tool will help you inventory the people and places that sell foods impacted by the Smart Snacks standards.
Step 2: Keep Everyone in the Know
Keep everyone responsible for selling snacks and beverages across campus informed about the Smart Snacks standards. Make this an ongoing educational process with your school community.
Check out the Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Smart Snacks Success curriculum in our online Training Center. Or use the Smart Snacks…Just Enough presentation to provide Smarts Snacks basics to staff and students that may change over time.
Step 3: Know Your Products
The Alliance has tools you can for Smart Snacks success:
- 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.
- 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.
- The Healthier Generation Store with Amazon Business
Serving Smart Snacks doesn’t need to take a ton of time. Access a wide variety of products vetted to align with nutritional guidelines, with only the click of a button - no matter where your school is located, or what size an order you need to make.
Step 4: Engage the Business Office
Find out who talks with vendors and manages contracts. Ask them to identify contracts that may need to be amended based on your product inventories. Share the Alliance’s Smart Snacks tools (see Step 3) when writing or updating contracts.
Use the Vendor Contact Tool to inventory vendors, collect contact information and indicate when they have been contacted about new or updated contracts.
Step 5: Work with your Vendors
Consider the following strategies to get started:
- Ensure they are aware of the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards
- Ask for a list of their products that meet the Smart Snacks standards
- Develop a plan with them for finding replacement products when needed
- Request samples for student taste tests
- Encourage vendors to utilize the Alliance’s Smart Snacks tools (Step 3)
- Let them know they can find more information about Smart Snacks on the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School website, including specific policies and guidance pertaining to the regulation
- Use our sample letter to vendors
Step 6: Talk to your Neighbors
Everyone who participates in federal school meals programs has to comply with the Smart Snacks nutrition standards, so it’s smart to join forces. Consider organizing a meeting with neighboring schools or districts to explore combining purchasing power and learn from one another. Use our sample invitation and sample agenda to generate interest for the collaboration.
Step 7: Get the Word Out
Smart Snacks affects the whole school community and clear communication is key to success.
- Give a high level overview with the Smart Snacks…A Little presentation
- Use memos to administrators and staff to remind them about and keep them up to date on Smart Snacks
- Use this memo to parents and your PTA to let them know how Smart Snacks affects in-school fundraising. For additional fundraising resources, check out:
- Healthy Fundraising webpage
- Food & Funds: Keepin' It Healthy presentation
- Alternative Fundraising Ideas hand-out
- Partnering for the Health of It hand-out
- USDA's Smart Snacks in School: Fundraising Guidance hand-out
Step 8: Promote! Promote! Promote!
Now it’s time to share the news about the changes you’ve made. Try these tips:
- Post a blurb on your website to share Smart Snacks news and information with your school community
- Highlight your great work with regular newsletters
- Use morning announcements to build excitement about healthy eating among students
- Use the power of social media: Check out these sample Facebook and Twitter posts
Step 9: Engage Students
Ensure success with students by involving them in the process. Hold taste testing events and focus groups to get their feedback…and make sure you incorporate that feedback. Weave Smart Snacks into your school’s curriculum with this subject guide or get them involved with nutrition education to help build excitement for healthier foods and beverages.
Remember, when students are part of the decision-making process, they are much more likely to embrace the changes and contribute to Smart Snacks success.
Now let's talk school fundraising!
Talk with Our Experts
Jill Turley is one of our National Nutrition Advisors. By contacting her, you can ask questions, learn best practices and get started creating a healthier school environment.