Food Services

Eager student learning

Nutrition Education

To help ensure the health and well-being of each student attending KIPP Austin Public Schools, and to provide guidance to school personnel in the areas of nutrition, health, physical activity, and food service, the governing board encourages teachers, principals, and food service employees to recognize the lunch period as an integral part of the educational program of the district and to work to implement the goals of this policy.

The governing board will ensure the following:

  • An economically sustainable meal program will make available a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack to every student at every school so that students are prepared to learn to their fullest potential.
  • Food Services will work toward a minimum of 75% of meals served and sold at school shall be prepared from fresh ingredients, and to the extent possible from locally grown or produced and organic ingredients.
  • Reimbursable meals shall not be less restrictive than the regulations and guidelines of the Child Nutrition Act and the National School Lunch Act.
  • Food items served and sold in schools shall reflect the cultural diversity of the student body.
  • School Leaders will be encouraged to schedule lunch periods so that students do not have to eat lunch unusually early or late, and ideally, so that they eat after periods of exercise.
  • There shall be nutrition standards regulating all food and beverages sold or served at school, including school meals, a la carte items, vended items, items sold as fundraisers, and items given to students as part of a celebration.
  • Access to food or water may not be used as a reward or punishment for academics or behavior.
  • Meals will be attractively presented and served in a pleasant environment with sufficient time for eating, while fostering good eating habits, enjoyment of meals, good manners, and respect for others.
  • At each cafeteria site, students shall play a role in a recycling and composting program that begins with the purchase of recycled products and maximizes the reduction of waste by recycling, reusing, and composting.
  • Elementary and middle schools shall not have vending machines or school stores with food items accessible by students. Any high school or staff vending machine will contain items that align with nutrition standards for the district.
  • Schools and School Food Service will promote food-centered activities that are healthful, enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, and participatory, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, school gardens, and cooking lessons and demonstrations.
  • A culinary garden will be established to provide food for the full-service kitchen at Austin Ridge.
  • Schools in the district will be encouraged to establish an instructional garden of sufficient size to provide students with experiences in planting, harvesting, preparation and tasting foods, including celebrations and events that observe food traditions, integrated with nutrition education and core curriculum.

Smart Snack Standards, Competitive Foods, Fundraising, Vending, After School Activities, Sack Lunches

Smart Snacks Standards Defined

Any food sold in schools must:

  • Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
  • Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
  • Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber).*

Foods must also meet several nutrient requirements:

  • Calorie limits:
    • Snack items: ≤ 200 calories
    • Entrée items: ≤ 350 calories
  • Sodium limits:
    • Snack items: ≤ 230 mg**
    • Entrée items: ≤ 480 mg
  • Fat limits:
    • Total fat: ≤35% of calories
    • Saturated fat: < 10% of calories
    • Trans fat: zero grams
  • Sugar limit:
    • ≤ 35% of weight from total sugars in foods

*On July 1, 2016, foods may not qualify using the 10% DV criteria.
**On July 1, 2016, snack items must contain ≤ 200 mg sodium per item

The Smart Snacks nutrition standards apply to all competitive foods sold to students during the school day on all areas of the school campus, in all schools.

Competitive Foods Defined

Includes all food and beverages that are not provided by school food service. This includes items sold in vending machines, in school stores or through school fundraisers conducted by parents or other groups and organizations. Outside food and beverages provided for events such as pizza parties, etc., are also considered competitive.

  • Students at the K-8 level will not be involved in the sale of candy, sodas, cookies, sweets or other foods of minimal nutritional value at any school-sponsored event or for any fundraising activity. School sponsored events for students at the 9-12 level
  • No unhealthy food or beverage items may be advertised on school grounds. (Examples include sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, chips, pastries or other snack foods)
  • Neither the district nor individual schools may sign exclusive contracts with soft drink, fast food, or snack food companies.
  • Sack meals or snacks brought from home must fit the Smart snack standards. The foods that do not fit the standards will be taken from the student and picked up by the parent or student at the end of the school day. If a student’s lunch is taken because of its contents, a school meal will be provided and charged to the students account according to his or her free, reduced or denied status.
  • All foods in celebration of a student or staff member’s birthday in class or during meal times must meet the Smart Snack Standards. Foods that meet the KAPS nutrition standards may be supplied after lunch service. Schools and parents will be provided a list of suggested nutritious celebration foods.


  • Health care: School nurses providing individual health care to students.
  • School events: One serving of one non Smart Snack standards can be served at up to two different school-wide events that occur during the school day. These special events are determined by each campus. These events should be for celebrations only. They should not be used as a reward for learning or meeting behavior expectations. These non Smart Snack foods can never be given during meal times. Celebrations can center around birthdays, holidays, the addition of new team members or staff, saying good-bye to a student moving out of the district, etc.
  • Athletic, UIL, Band and Other Competitions: Policy applies to students who leave campus to travel to athletic, UIL, band or other competitions. Food offered to students by any school within the KAPS district must be in line with the policy.

A la carte

  • A permission form with a la carte guidelines must be signed by all KAPS parents before a student is able to participate in the a la carte program.
  • Food Service should encourage purchase of nutritious items by pricing healthy a la carte items affordably so that all students regardless of meal status may participate with parent permission.
  • Lunch procedures must allow for all students with a signed permission form to participate in the a la carte program. This program is never to be used as a punishment or reward for academics or behavior.
  • To ensure that all students eat a nutritionally balanced meal, students may purchase only one of each type of a la carte per meal.
  • Teachers and Food Service will encourage students to eat as much of their reimbursable meal as possible before purchasing a la carte items. Teachers and Food Service are encouraged to contact parents if they feel the a la carte program regularly interferes with the student eating a nutritious lunch.

Integrating Food Service with School Educational, Health, and Environmental Missions

  • Schools will be encouraged to integrate food and nutrition issues and activities into the academic curriculum.
  • The district shall develop policies and procedures to connect nutrition, health education, and physical education efforts.
  • Schools will be encouraged to review the foundations of student health as part of parent meetings with students who are struggling.

Nutrition Education

  • Nutrition lessons will be part of health education at every school level.
  • Each campus or the District is encouraged to offer one nutrition and fitness event every year. This may include, but is not limited to, events like Family Night, Saturday School, Advisory Day, Assemblies or a Health Fair.
  • Newsletters that include the school menu and fitness information will go home with students monthly.
  • School cafeterias will display nutrition and fitness information on bulletin boards, table tents, posters or other marketing materials.

Increase Participation in School Nutrition Programs and Ensure that No Student Goes Hungry

  • All schools shall offer free breakfast to all students regardless of income.
  • The district and schools shall encourage maximum participation in meal programs. Cafeteria cashiers, teachers and other staff present in the cafeteria will remain aware to the extent possible of students who refuse food.
  • Teachers, staff and parents are encouraged to eat with students.
  • Nutrition Services will survey students at least twice per year to get feedback on food being served and to solicit suggestions.

Providing Opportunities for Public Input

Nutrition Services and Wellness Coordinator shall create a system for getting staff and parent feedback.