Barnstable Public Schools Wellness Guidelines

  • Revised October 2021

    The Barnstable Public School district is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children's health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating habits and physical activity. School districts are required by Section 223 of Chapter 111 of the Massachusetts General Laws to have a wellness policy.  In an effort to create an environment that promotes healthy lifelong eating and exercise habits, the following guidelines have been established.

    Nutrition standards for foods SOLD in school (signed into law 2010) include:

    • Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
    • Have as the 1st ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food: or
    • Be a combination of food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
    • Contain 10% of the daily value of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber)

    Foods sold must also meet several nutrient requirements:

    • Calorie limits:
      • Snack items: < 200 calories
      • Entrée items: < 350 calories
    • Sodium limits
      • Snack items: < 230 mg
      • Entrée times < 480 mg
    • Fat limits
      • Total fat: < 35% of calories
      • Saturated fat: <10% of calories
      • Trans-fat: 0 grams
    • Sugar limit:
      • < 35% of weight from total sugars in foods

    Beverage Guidelines:

    Water without added caloric or artificial sweeteners or color; fruit and vegetable juices and fruit based drinks that contain 100% juice and no additional sugar; unflavored or flavored low fat (1%) or fat-free milk are permitted. Portion sizes: elementary schools may sell up to 8 ounce portions, while middle schools and high schools may sell up to 12 ounce portions of milk and juice.

    Resource: USDA’s Smart Snacks in Schools


    Snacks served by the schools during the school day or during after-school care or enrichment programs will follow the nutritional standards and make a positive contribution to childrens’ diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage.  The district will make available a list of healthy snack items to teachers, after-school program personnel, and parents on health services websites, newsletters, or handouts. 

    We ask that everyone consider moderation as well as a thoughtful approach focused on wellness for all rewards, celebrations, fundraising activities, and events.


    If schools provide food or beverage rewards for academic performance or positive behavior, they shall utilize the USDA’s Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines (see above), or the district's food service provider catering menu through the teacher during the school day. Schools are highly encouraged to use other options besides foods for rewards. Food or beverages will not be withheld as a punishment.


    Given the schools’ role to promote student health,principals and staff will promote non-food celebrations. Schools should limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per month. No outside food that is prepared at home for sharing will be allowed during the school day. Only products that are labeled, pre-packaged and purchased from a licensed vendor will be allowed or food can be ordered through the district's food service provider by a staff member.

    Fundraising activities

    To support children's health and school nutrition goals, there will be no food fundraisers sold to students during the school day.  These standards do not apply during non-school hours. Schools will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity and other non-food alternatives. The school district will make available a list of ideas for alternatives to food fundraising activities. PTOs will be notified of guidelines.

    Foods/beverages sold in vending machines, school stores and concession stands/snack bars

    Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events during non-school hours (including, but not limited to, athletic events, dances, performances, presentations) will be encouraged to meet the nutritional standards for foods and beverages. During the school day, only foods that align with the school meal nutrition standards will be allowed, and no foods prepared in someone’s home can be shared with other students.

    Communication with parents/guardians

    The schools will provide nutrition guideline information to parents/guardians, through web sites, newsletters, or handouts. Schools should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks for their children.  Ideas for healthy celebrations, rewards and fundraising activities can be provided by the school.

    Physical activity opportunities and physical education

    Physical activity and education is provided in grades K-7, and opportunities for physical activity and education are offered in grades 8-12. Whenever possible, schools should work to increase recess and physical activity times, including during inclement weather days by utilizing indoor spaces. Annual walk-a-thons are encouraged for all students and staff.

    Physical activity opportunities before and after school

    All schools are encouraged to offer extracurricular physical activity programs, including a range of activities that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all students.

    Physical activity and punishment

    All schools will promote "reflective walking" rather than withholding recess/physical activity as punishment, as per the discretion of the Principal.

    Health education

    Health Education is provided in grades K-7, and opportunities for health education are offered in grades 8-12 that focus on healthy choices.

    Staff wellness

    Each school will promote and support staff wellness. This can be done through individual school Wellness Task Forces, and will utilize staff input to encourage healthy eating and physical activity among staff.


    The superintendent (or designee) will ensure compliance with established district-wide nutrition and physical activity wellness policies.

    In each school, the principal will ensure compliance with those policies and will report on the school's compliance to the school district superintendent (or designee).

    All schools are highly encouraged to have a Wellness Task Force or, at a minimum, incorporate wellness into the agenda of at least two meetings at their school to address wellness related concerns in their building and to improve wellness policy compliance within their school.

    School food service staff, at the school or district level, will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within school food service areas and will report on this matter to the superintendent, or if done at the school level, to the principal.

    Each year, the District Wellness Advisory Council will review wellness practices and provide resource information to schools as needed and requested.