The federal Healthier US Schools Challenge Program establishes rigorous standards for schools’ food quality, participation in meal programs, physical activity, and nutrition education – key components that make for healthy and active kids – and provides recognition for schools that meet these standards.

In the next school year, the USDA’s goal is to double the number of schools that meet the Healthier US Schools Challenge.  Schools can participate in this model program by going to and learning about the range of educational and technical assistance materials that promote key aspects of the Dietary Guidelines, including a Menu Planner for Healthy School Meals, which provides tips on serving more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and lower amounts of sugar, sodium, and saturated and trans-fats in school menus.

In addition, major school food suppliers have agreed to meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations (mentioned in the yesterday’s blog) within 5 years to decrease the amount of sugar, fat and salt in school meals; increase whole grains; and double the amount of produce they serve.