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Nutrition Environment & Services

The school nutrition environment provides students with opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating through available foods and beverages, nutrition education, and messages about food in the cafeteria and throughout the school campus. Students may have access to foods and beverages in a variety of venues at school including the cafeteria, vending machines, grab ‘n’ go kiosks, schools stores, concession stands, classroom rewards, classroom parties, school celebrations, and fundraisers.

School nutrition services provide meals that meet federal nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, accommodate the health and nutrition needs of all students, and help ensure that foods and beverages sold outside of the school meal programs (i.e., competitive foods) meet Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. School nutrition professionals should meet minimum education requirements and receive annual professional development and training to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to provide these services. All individuals in the school community support a healthy school nutrition environment by marketing and promoting healthier foods and beverages, encouraging participation in the school meal programs, role-modeling healthy eating behaviors, and ensuring that students have access to free drinking water throughout the school day.

Healthy eating has been linked in studies to improved learning outcomes and helps ensure that students are able to reach their potential.


SY 2012 - 2013 Allowable Competitive Foods/Beverages and Maximum Portion Size List has been released through Commissioner's Memo FIN-11-083.

For more information on nutrition in the schools, visit the Arkansas Department of Education Child Nutrition Unit website.