Competitive Foods and Beverages


Competitive foods and beverages are those items sold or provided in schools that are not part of the National School Lunch Program—typically, foods and drinks that are sold in vending machines, cafeteria a la carte lines, and school stores.



Smart Snacks in School

USDA. Food and Nutrition Service.

This Web page includes information on the new Smarts Snacks in School nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, as well as summaries, simple handouts, and other technical assistance and guidance materials to help schools offer healthy food and beverage choices.


Competitive Foods in Schools

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Find links to reports and helpful information on competitive foods and beverages. Also find four audience-specific fact sheets for school staff, parents, and young people to use to support and develop strong nutrition standards that can impact the health of students at school.


Controlling Junk Food and the Bottom Line: Case Studies of Schools Successfully Implementing Strong Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages (PDF | 764 KB)

University of Illinois at Chicago. Institute for Health Research and Policy; Illinois Public Health Institute.

This resource presents case studies of schools that improved nutrition standards for their competitive food and beverages without significant negative financial impact.


Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth

Institute of Medicine

This report details the IOM standards for competitive foods and beverages in schools, which are not all required by federal mandate, but they serve as the gold standard recommendations for the availability, sale, and content of competitive foods in schools.


Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools Fact Sheets

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using the findings of the Institute of Medicine’s Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth report. CDC developed a set of four audience-specific fact sheets as a resource for school board members, administrators, and staff; parents; and youth to use in the support and development of strong nutrition standards for foods outside of the school meal programs. These fact sheets provide recommendations for implementing the Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools report.


Implementing Strong Nutrition Standards for Schools: Financial Implications (PDF | 1.85 MB)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Outlines the evidence-based, financial implications of schools that have implemented strong nutrition standards to address childhood obesity.


Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn: Chapter E: Policies to Promote Healthy Eating

National Association of State Boards of Education.

This guide contains recent scientific data, analysis, examples of state and local best practices, and evidence-based model policies that can be adapted by schools, districts, and states. The guides also cover a wide array of topics, such as what makes a quality school meals program, creating a healthy eating environment throughout the school, prevention education, and nutrition-related school services.


Under Pressure: Strategies for Sodium Reduction in the School Environment (PDF | 1.83 MB)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This resource includes research-based information on sodium’s effect on children’s health, the impact of the school food environment on preference for sodium. Find 7 strategies for sodium reduction in the school environment, as well as tips on how to implement them.