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School Snacks and Nutrition Promotion

Smart Snacks Guidelines

USDA's Smart Snacks in School guidelines, which went into effect July 1, 2014, require all food and beverages sold, served and/or distributed to students, such as food on snack carts, a la carte lines, in the classrooms, and through fundraisers need to meet the USDA nutrition requirements, Smart Snack guidelines and state laws. Click here to visit the USDA Smart Snack Guidelines Information website for more information. A 2019-20 updated guide is also available with suggestions and resources.

The district's Smart Snacks Shopping List offers suggested items available at the Brooklyn Center Cub Foods, as well as other grocery store locations. The list is not comprehensive, but a sampling of various items that meet Smart Snack standards. To check the compliance of other products, please use the Alliance For A Healthier Generation's Smart Snack calculator or contact Michelle Auld, Wellbeing Specialist, at

This resource out of the Connecticut Official State Website offers a comprehensive list of Smart Snack food and beverage items. Please note that BCCS district requests no soda at events, meetings, or group gatherings.

Rewards and Incentives

Research indicates that using "treats" to incentivize or reward students has negative consequences. The District 286 Wellness Policy #533 states, "Staff will not use edible items as rewards for academic performance or good behavior. Rewards and incentives will not include edible items (including but not limited to candy, mints, snacks and beverages). Staff will not withhold food or beverages as punishment or as leverage with a student."
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has found that, "...the best policy is not to use food to reward children for good behavior or academic performance." The resources provided are intended to generate ideas, as not all the suggestions are aligned with procedures in the various Brooklyn Center Community School District buildings. Please consult with your building administration if you are unsure if a suggestion aligns with the building practices.

In addition, understanding that Black, Indigenous and Students of Color are more likely to be negatively impacted by practices of withholding physical activity as a punishment, BCCS is committed to creating environments and opportunities for each student to utilize movement as needed for optimal academic growth and mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Physical activity may not be used as a negative consequence and withholding physical activity may not be used as a negative consequence. Offering movement opportunities as a reward or incentive is encouraged, when appropriate for the student.

Nutrition Education Support

Learn about  our Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing project with LifeTime Foundation and Chef Ann Foundation and explore the full information in the national guide at the button below and on the website

Ingredient Guide 2023

BCCS Wellness programs include nutrition education and cooking instruction. We are proud to partner with local, BIPOC-owned small businesses to help promote culturally-diverse nutrition information and global foods. These opportunities are available at various school events throughout the year. 

Smarter Lunchroom Strategies

Brooklyn Center Community Schools' kitchens practice Smarter Lunchroom Strategies during the lunch programs. The practices encourage students to choose more of the less-processed foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruit options

Brooklyn Center Community Schools strives to plan and schedule for the most beneficial meal times. Making Time For School Lunch offers information about school meal times best practices.

Farm to School

Farm to School enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and food education practices at schools.

At Brooklyn Center Community schools, our Farm to School program focuses on three areas:

  • Cafeteria: We purchase seasonal, Minnesota grown foods to serve in our school meals

  • Classroom: We partner with Gale Woods Farm to provide food and nutrition education in classrooms and in our school gardens

  • Community: We help strengthen the local economy by purchasing locally and supporting Minnesota farmers. Students learn about food and agriculture in our community by taking field trips to local farms.

In the 2023-24 school year BCCS will be implementing the Healthy Meals Incentive grant to support nutrition education and activities for students, staff and families, implementing internal scratch cooking training for kitchen staff and initiating a Healthy Meals Advisory.