Connecticut Nutrition Standards


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Healthy Food Certification |  Beverage Requirements |  List of Acceptable Foods and Beverages


The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) developed the Connecticut Nutrition Standards (CNS) in response to Section 10-215e of the Connecticut General Statutes, which required the CSDE to publish a set of nutrition standards for foods offered for sale to students separately from reimbursable school meals in public schools. The CNS focuses on:

  • moderating calories;
  • limiting fat, saturated fat, sodium, and sugars;
  • eliminating trans fat; and
  • promoting more nutrient-dense foods such as such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, lean meats, legumes, and nuts and seeds.

The general standards and nutrients addressed in the CNS are based on current nutrition science and national health recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and national health organizations such as the National Academy of Medicine, and American Heart Association. The CSDE's state nutrition standards committee reviews the CNS annually, and determines if updates are needed to reflect changes in current nutrition science and national health recommendations.

Public school districts that choose to implement the healthy food option under C.G.S. Section 10-215f (Healthy Food Certification) must follow the CNS for all foods sold to students separately from reimbursable school meals, at all times and from all sources on school premises, including a la carte sales in the cafeteria, vending machines, school stores, fundraisers, culinary programs, and any other sources of food sales to students. For more information, visit the CSDE's HFC and Competitive Foods webpages.

The CNS meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Smart Snacks nutrition standards for competitive foods. For information on the USDA's Smart Snacks standards, visit the CSDE's Smart Snacks and Competitive Foods webpages.

Connecticut Nutrition Standards and Resources