Healthy Food Standards

August 27th 2012

Dear Parent or Guardian:

The Greenfield Public Schools wants to provide a healthy school environment for all students. That means offering nourishing food and drink choices that will promote students’ growth and development, learning, and healthy life-long eating habits.

As part of the effort to improve children’s health in Massachusetts, the State Legislature asked the Massachusetts Departments of Public Health and Elementary and Secondary Education to develop nutrition standards for our public schools. We would like to tell you about how these standards will be applied in your child’s school beginning in August, 2012. The nutrition standards support our goals for student health and academic achievement by concentrating on serving nutrient-rich, minimally processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products. The new standards were developed by health and education experts using the Institute of Medicine’s Nutrition Standards for Food in School and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and are focused on what are called “competitive” foods and drinks sold or provided in public schools during the school day. The standards do not apply to school meals programs, which follow USDA national guidelines.

Competitive foods and drinks are those provided in:

  • School cafeteria à la carte items (sold separately from school meals)
  • School stores, snack bars, vending machines and concession stands
  • School booster sales, fund-raising activities and other school-sponsored or school-related events
  • School buildings and any other location on school property, including classrooms and hallways

The standards apply to items sold or provided from 30 minutes before the beginning of the school day until 30 minutes after the school day ends. However, foods and drinks sold in vending machines must meet the standards at all times. Attached please find an “at-a-glance” summary of the standards.

We invite you to join us in working with other parents, teachers, nutrition services, school staff and the community through our Greenfield Public School Wellness Advisory Committee to put the new standards in place in our schools. We welcome your ideas and support in creating a healthier school environment for our students. Some of the activities you might consider becoming involved in include Greenfield school wellness activities.

Please feel free to call us at 413-772-1334 with any questions and ideas you may have. More information about children’s wellness and nutrition is available at http://www.mass.gov/massinmotion.

Sincerely,
Madison Walker, Director Food and Nutrition Services

 

Suggestions for Celebrations that Provide Healthy, Nutrient-rich Foods and Other Ideas

We want to encourage parents to consider healthy snacks and other alternatives. If you think about it, one cookie doesn’t sound bad. But, when you think about it being multiplied many, many times, it is usually a lot of fat and sugars. So, here are a few ideas which work out well with children.

Grains

  • Trail Mix
  • Cereal Mixes
  • Animal Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Granola Bars
  • Low Fat Pretzels
  • Pasta Salad
  • Bread Sticks with Marinara Sauce for dipping
  • Bagels and Cream Cheese
  • Banana, Carrot, or Zucchini Bread
  • Graham Crackers

Dairy

  • Fruit and Cheese Kabobs
  • Sliced fruit (nectarines, pears, apples, star fruit, peaches)
  • Fruit Salad
  • Apples with caramel dip
  • Dried Fruit
  • Applesauce Singles
  • Strawberries with whipped cream
  • Fruit Wedges, (watermelon, honeydew, pineapple, cantaloupe, oranges)
  • Vegetable Tray with a low fat dips
  • Salsa and low fat chips
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Celery with peanut butter or cheese
  • Angle food cake with fruit toppings
  • Vanilla yogurt with berries

Beverages

  • Low fat milk
  • 100% fruit Juices
  • Flavored Waters

Protein Items

  • Low Salt Nut Assortments
  • Pizza with low fat toppings
  • Salami, Cheese, and whole grain crackers
  • Low Fat beef or turkey jerky
  • Peanut butter with apples or celery

Dairy Products

  • String Cheese
  • Small packages of cheese
  • Low Fat Pudding Cups
  • Cheese Quesadillas
  • Low Fat Milk (flavored or plain)
  • Yogurt in a tube or cup
  • Cottage Cheese Singles

Other Non-Food Options

  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Notebooks (small)
  • Small puzzles
  • Stickers
  • Crayons
  • Coloring or activity books
  • Glow in the dark pendants, bracelets, necklaces.
  • Bubbles
  • Small play dough
  • Colored Chalk
  • Small puzzles
  • Monster rings, spider rings, or other toy favors
  • Pencils, pencil toppers, erasers

We hope that you have an enjoyable and healthy celebration.