School Nutrition

The nutrition component supports the integration of nutritious, affordable and appealing meals; nutrition education; and an environment that promotes healthful eating behaviors for all children. School nutrition services should be designed to maximize each child’s education and health potential for a lifetime. This is most effectively achieved when the cafeteria, classroom and community work as a team.

The Nutrition Component promotes:

  • Access to a variety of nutritious, culturally appropriate foods that promote growth and development, pleasure in healthful eating, and long-term health, the prevention of school day hunger and its consequent lack of attention to learning tasks
  • Nutrition education that empowers students to select and enjoy healthful food and physical activity
  • Screening, assessment, counseling and referral for nutrition problems and the provision of modified meals for students with special needs.

Goal: To improve the health, nutritional well-being and academic performance of North Carolina’s students through coordinated and comprehensive nutrition policies that enhance the school classroom, cafeteria and community environment and support lifelong healthful eating habits.

Eat Smart, Move More
Eat Smart, Move More NC is a statewide initiative that promotes increased opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating through policy and environmental change.
  Increasing public awareness of the need for such changes to support increased physical activity and healthy eating opportunities is an integral aspect of the initiative.  The ultimate goal of the initiative is to promote healthy behaviors that reduce risks and prevent disease related to inactivity and unhealthy eating behaviors.  Eat Smart, Move Move is a program of the Physical Activity and Nutrition Unit in the NC Division of Public Health.

Child Nutrition Programs

Child Nutrition Programs provide nutritious school meals to promote learning readiness and the opportunity to practice skills learned in classroom nutrition education. Programs in schools include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, After School Snack Program and the Summer Food Service Program. Programs are available to all children regardless of ability to pay. Federal regulations also support the student with Special Dietary Needs. Meals are modified with a proper medical prescription without additional cost to the parent of guardian. For more information, call Child Nutrition Services with the NC Department of Public Instruction (919) 807-3506.

Team Nutrition

Approximately half of North Carolina’s schools are Team Nutrition schools. Team Nutrition provides schools with nutrition education materials for children and families, and technical assistance materials for Child Nutrition directors, cafeteria managers and staff. State agency partners provide training and technical assistance to support these programs in local schools. Team Nutrition supports the School Meals Initiative policy that school meals reflect the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For more information, call Child Nutrition Services with the NC Department of Public Instruction (919) 807-3506.

Nutrition Education and Training Program (NET)

The North Carolina NET Program, through its local, state and federal partnerships, provides leadership in promoting healthful eating habits for the state’s children. NET integrates mealtime and learning experiences to help children make informed food choices as part of a healthy lifestyle. Activities of the NET Program include a Resource Lending Library, mini-grants, workshops and a newsletter. For more information, call the NET Program with the NC Department of Health and Human Services at (919) 715-8792.

North Carolina School Nutrition Action Committee (SNAC)

SNAC consists of representatives from the three state governmental agencies that participate in school nutrition services including the Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Cooperative Extension Service. The goal of this collaborative committee is to coordinate school nutrition activities that link the cafeteria, classroom and community to school health. The committee has worked on issues ranging from meeting the dietary needs of children with special needs to coordinating health promotion programs that focus on 5 a Day , 1% or Less Milk campaign, breakfast promotion and increased physical activity. For more information, call the Children and Youth Branch with the NC Department of Health and Human Services at (919) 715-3292.

Soft-Drinksand School-age Children: Trends, Effects, Solutions
(Downloadthis Fact Sheet)  
The increasing level of soft drink consumption by North Carolina’s childrenand teens is one of many barriers to their
achievingan adequate diet and a healthy lifestyle. It is a trend that parents, schoolsand communities have the capacity toreverse. This publication focuses primarily on schools; however, schools cannotsolve the problem alone.

NC Statewide Health Promotion Program and NC Cardiovascular Health Program

These programs support local health departments that are working in the arena of promoting policy change and environmental improvements to increase physical activity and healthful eating opportunities in various settings, including schools. For more information on the NC Statewide Health Promotion Program, call (919)715-3344. For more information on the Start With Your Heart call (919) 715-5398.

North Carolina 5 a Day Coalition

This coalition of state and local agencies, public, private and nonprofit organizations is licensed to promote the National Cancer Institute’s 5 a Day Program. Schools are primary channels that the coalition is using to encourage North Carolina children to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. For more information, call the Health Promotion Branch with the NC Department of Health and Human Services at (919) 715-3829.

NCSU Cooperative Extension Service

The NC Cooperative Extension Family & Consumer Sciences, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) exists in all 100 counties and on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. It includes one or more Family and Consumer Educators (FCE), who are part of the County Extension Center. FCEs interact with county residents to assess nutrition education needs and issues. As NCSU field faculty, they also work with FCS faculty to provide research-based educational programming. County and state faculty work with school-age children, parents and educators in a variety of ways including providing leadership on the community component of Team Nutrition, Be Active Kids and the SyberShop CD-ROM for high school students. Agents work in multi-agency teams to improve nutrition education opportunities for children and parents. For more information, call Family and Consumer Sciences with NCSU Cooperative Extension Service at (919) 515-9142.

School-based Health Centers

North Carolina has approximately 50 school-based health centers across the state. Center services target children aged 5-19 years and address important health challenges such as unmet medical and mental health concerns and the reduction of health-risk behaviors. Most centers have a nutritionist on staff providing nutrition and weight management services to students. Some coordinate school-wide nutrition promotion campaigns with cafeteria staff. For more information, call the Children and Youth Branch with the NC Department of Health and Human Services at (919) 715-3292.

CDC Guidelines for School Health Programs

National guidelines for school health programs were developed on the basis ofan exhaustive review of published research and input from academic experts andnational, federal, and voluntary organizations interested in child andadolescent health. The guidelines include specific recommendations to helpstates, districts, and schools implement health programs and policies that havebeen found to be most effective in promoting healthy behaviors among youth.Recommendations cover topics such as policy development, curriculum developmentand selection, instructional strategies, staff training, family and communityinvolvement, evaluation, and linkages between different components of thecoordinated school health program. School Health Program Guidelines arecurrently available on the following topics.

Guidelinesto Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating

Guidelinesto Promote Lifelong Physical Activity

Guidelinesto Prevent Tobacco Use and Addiction

Guidelinesfor Effective School Health Education 
To Prevent the Spread of AIDS

Guidelines to Prevent Unintentional Injuries and Violence

The New Design Handbook: National Food Service Management Institute

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Related Links:

NC Healthy Schools provides links to related sites only as a courtesy to our Internet readers. NC Healthy Schools makes no claim as to the accuracy of any information presented on other Internet sites and is not responsible for their content.

American Dietetic Association
American School Food Service Association
CDC – Division of Adolescent and School Health
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Children with Diabetes
Dole 5 a Day
Family Food Zone
FDA Kid’s Page
Food and Drug Administration
Food Fun for Kids
Girl Power
Healthy School Meals
International Food Information Council
Milk- Where’s Your Moustache
National Cancer Institute’s 5 a Day Program
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
NC Be Active Kids
NC Cooperative Extension Family & Consumer Sciences
NC Department of Agriculture Kid’s Stuff
NET Library
Nutrition for Kids
Nutritiously Gourmet
Pear Bear Kids
Smart Mouth
Start With Your Heart
Team Nutrition
Think Fast! Healthier Choices for Fast Food
Tufts University Nutrition Center
USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service
Wheat Foods Council

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