Tips to Tackling Smart Snacks in School

The new standards for “Smart Snacks in School” are positively impacting more than 50 million students by ensuring only healthier foods are being sold in schools.

Smart snacks complement healthier school meals and make the healthy choice the easy choice for students by encouraging healthier snacks at all venues in the school, including student enterprise locations operated by DECA students.

These new standards apply to all foods sold in school during the school day and for 30 minutes after the final bell, but do not apply to foods sold during evening activities or on weekends, or for items sold off campus.

School stores and vending machines often raise revenue for student organizations, but there are an increasing number of alternatives available for school groups like DECA to raise money while also promoting a healthier lifestyle. For example, student volunteers can sponsor physical activity fundraisers such as 5Ks, walk-a-thons, fitness classes, biking events, or boot camps.

Alternatively, students could raise funds by selling non-food items such as reusable water bottles, school apparel and even student cookbooks—items that boost school spirit while maintaining a healthy school environment.

Smart Snacks supports efforts by the entire school community, all working hard to instill healthy habits in students. Emerging leaders can assist in these efforts by using strategies that are working in other schools across the country. With guidance from the school nutrition professionals, student volunteers can create and disseminate surveys to determine healthy foods that students like, or set up taste testing stations in the cafeteria and ask students to try new food items.

Student leaders can also initiate marketing campaigns by advertising healthy snacks on the side of vending machines, hanging posters around the cafeteria, and promoting healthy foods on the morning announcements. Since DECA promotes leadership and creative thinking in business, entrepreneurship and hospitality, DECA students are natural leaders for this movement.

USDA is committed to ensuring the next generation of leaders grow up healthy and strong and encourage you to assist in making sure that Smart Snacks are working for your school. Together, we can support the important changes taking place in school lunchrooms across America. For more information on Smart Snacks, please see

Categories: Chapter Resources, Chapter Resources (Home Page Teaser), Comprehensive Learning Program, School-based Enterprises