A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains (such as whole wheat, oats and brown rice), and foods with healthy fats (like olive and canola oil, nuts and fatty fish), is very important for maintaining healthy weight and preventing chronic health issues associated with a poor diet such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and preservatives. In addition, it is recommended that children drink more water and limit their intake of sugary drinks. Encouraging healthy eating from a young age can help cultivate life-long healthy eating habits. Below you will find:
- Resources for promoting healthy food and beverage consumption for out of school time, schools, and families
- Resources for communities and decision makers
- Scientific publications from the HPRC providing an evidence base for the health impact of healthy eating.
- Other useful external resources
An initiative designed to develop healthy habits related to healthy foods, drinks, and physical activity through sustainable policy and environmental strategies during out of school time programs.
OSNAP promotes the following healthy eating goals:
–Offer a fruit or vegetable option every day.
–Do not serve foods with trans fats.
–When serving grains (like bread, cereals and crackers) at snack, serve whole grains (A snack is whole grains if a whole grain is listed first on an ingredient label).
–Do not allow sugar-sweetened drinks from being served or brought to the program.
–Offer water as a beverage at snack every day
OSNAP Tools for change:
Policy Writing Guide to lay out your program rules for snacks served
Additional Resources for Healthy Snacks and Beverages
A curriculum designed to assist program staff in providing healthier environments to children during out-of-school time. Food & Fun Afterschool includes 11 teaching units that use both lessons and activities to encourage healthy behaviors through active play, literacy and math skills development, creative learning, and hands-on snack time activities.
An interdisciplinary elementary school program designed to promote healthful eating and physical activities in school, home, and community environments.
Sample Lesson: Healthy Living
Sample Parent Newsletter Article: Fruits & Veggies, Super Snacks
An interdisciplinary curriculum focused on improving the health and well-being of sixth through eighth grade students while building and reinforcing skills in language arts, math, science, social studies, and physical education.
Sample Lesson: Food Power
Fact Sheet: Activate Your Family
Food & Fun & Family
Learning healthy behaviors begins at home. As a parent or guardian, you have the greatest influence over the foods your child eats and the activities that they do when out of school. The goal of Food, Fun & Family is to help busy parents provide a healthier home environment for their children.
Food & Fun & Family provides resources for the following healthy eating goals:
–Serve water at every meal and snack.
–Do not allow sugar-sweetened beverages in your home.
–Serve a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal and snack.
–Choose foods with 0g of trans fat and do not have partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list.
–When buying grains (like bread, crackers and cereals), choose whole grains.
- Healthy Beverages Executive Order, Boston, MA
- Act Relative to School Nutrition, Health and Human Services
- Healthy Students, Healthy Schools, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, United States Department of Agriculture
Kenney EL, Austin SB, Cradock AL, Giles CM, Lee RM, Davison KK, Gortmaker SL. Identifying Sources of Children’s Consumption of Junk Food in Boston After-School Programs, April-May 2011. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014 Nov 20;11:E205.
Mozaffarian RS, Lee RM, Kennedy MA, Ludwig DS, Mozaffarian D and Gortmaker SL. Identifying whole grain foods: a comparison of different approaches for selecting more healthful whole grain products. Public Health Nutr. 2013 Dec;16(12):2255-64.
Mozaffarian RS, Andry A, Lee RM, Wiecha JL, Gortmaker SL. Price and healthfulness of snacks in 32 YMCA after-school programs in 4 U.S. metropolitan areas, 2006-2008. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2012;9(E38).
Mozaffarian RS, Wiecha JL, Roth BA, Nelson TF, Lee RM, Gortmaker SL. Impact of an organizational intervention designed to improve snack and beverage quality in YMCA after-school programs. Am J Public Health. 2010 May;100(5): 925–32.
Austin SB, Field E, Wiecha J, Peterson KE, Gortmaker S. The impact of a school-based obesity prevention trial on disordered weight-control behaviors in early adolescent girls. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005 Mar; 159(3) :225–229.
Wang LY, Yang Q, Lowry R, Wechsler H. Economic analysis of a school-based obesity prevention program. Obes Res. 2003 Nov; 11 (11): 1313–1324.
Gortmaker SL, Cheung LWY, Peterson KE, Chomitz G, Cradle JH, Fox MK, Bullock RB, Sobol AM, Colditz G, Field A, Laird N. Impact of a school-based interdisciplinary intervention on diet and physical activity among urban primary school children: eat well and keep moving. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999; 153: 975–83.
Gortmaker SL, Peterson KE, Wiecha JL, Sobol AM, Dixit S, Fox MK, Laird N. Reducing obesity via a school-based interdisciplinary intervention among youth: Planet Health. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999 Apr; 153 (4): 409–18.
- Healthy Eating Plate, Harvard Nutrition Source
- What Should I Eat, Harvard Nutrition Source
- Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Health Eating for a Healthy Weight,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
- Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN)
- 5-2-1-0 Goes to School
- RWJF Healthy Eating Research
- Team Nutrition, United States Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service