NOTICE: Coronavirus Guidance for School Districts: Per Governor’s executive order, in-school class cancellations remain in effect until at least April 20, 2020.
Emergency Meal Programs: The State Department of Education is authorizing two distinct categories of COVID-19 Emergency Meal Programs in accordance with federal requirements: 1) COVID-19 Emergency Meal Program Limited to Students Attending School in Specific Districts. School districts on this list are only authorized to serve meals to students attending their schools, and any other child age 18 years or younger residing in the same household; 2) COVID-19 Community-wide Emergency Meal Program for Children. Any child age 18 years or younger can receive meal(s) at any meal service and distribution sites in these towns/cities. They do not have to be a resident or attend school in these towns/cities. Check these links often as more locations continue to be added.

Connecticut Nutrition Standards


School Nutrition Programs |  Program Guidance |  Forms |  Resources |  Nutrition Education

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 requires 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 (formerly the National Academy of Sciences Institute 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, but not limited to, a la carte sales in the cafeteria, vending machines, school stores, fundraisers, 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.

CNS Documents

For information on how to evaluate foods for compliance with the CNS, go to the "How To" section in the left navigation bar.