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The USDA has released long-awaited guidelines for foods sold in school vending machines, snack carts and school stores. These guidelines will cover any snack item, side item or beverage sold outside of the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs.

We at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation are excited to see these federal guidelines moving forward, putting the nutrition of all foods and beverages in school buildings on a level playing field. The choices students have access to through vending, snack carts and school stores should mirror the nutritious choices they see in the cafeteria line to promote healthy eating in all corners of the school building.
Top 5 Things You Should Know
1. They are in draft form! The USDA has issued a proposed set of guidelines and opened up a 60 day comment period. This means that nutrition experts, parents, teachers, administrators and students can all provide input and feedback regarding the final rule.

2. National guidelines serve as the floor, not the ceiling. The proposed rule will provide a minimum set of guidelines for schools across the country. Individual states and local school boards can build on the minimum standards to fit their individual communities.

3. Many schools are ahead of the curve! Due to our Healthy Schools Program Framework which provides alternative guidelines to schools on the snacks and beverages they serve and sell, we’ve been working with schools for more than six years to implement healthier options. Take a look!

4. The school nutrition market is evolving. We are working with more than 100 food and beverage companies that have agreed to develop products that meet our strict nutrition guidelines and there has been a good amount of innovation over the past few years. This has resulted in more healthy and tasty choices! Check out our Product Navigator to see examples of brands and products that fit the bill.

5. Help is just a phone call or mouse click away. The Alliance has tools, resources and experts to help schools successfully implement healthier standards for snacks and beverages. We have been helping schools do this for six years! Learn how to do this in your school and get ahead of the curve.

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