District Wellness Policy

Minneapolis Public Schools

Wellness Policy & Guidelines

August 2006


The purpose of this policy is to develop healthy learners through a school environment that promotes and protect students’ health, well being and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.

  1. The Minneapolis Public Schools recognizes that nutrition education and physical education are essential components of the educational process and that good health fosters student attendance and education.
  2. The school district will involve students, parents, teachers, food service staff and community partners and industry experts in implementing, monitoring and reviewing our district Wellness Policy and Guidelines.
  3. The school environment will promote and protect students’ health, wellbeing and ability to learn by providing opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity.
  4. All students in grades K-12 will have opportunities, support and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  5. All students will have access to a variety of affordable, nutritious and appealing foods that meet their health and nutrition needs.
  6. All foods and beverages made available on campus (including, but not limited to, concessions, school stores, vending, beverage contracts, and a la carte cafeteria items) will meet and strive to exceed USDA Dietary Guidelines where appropriate.
  7. The religious, ethnic and cultural diversity and food allergies of the student body will be respected in meal planning, nutrition education and physical activity; and school sites will provide clean, safe and pleasant settings with adequate time for students to eat.
  8. All schools in the district will fully participate in the federal school meal programs to the maximum extent practicable.


The Superintendent shall execute administrative procedures that ensure the implementation of and compliance with the district Wellness Policy and Guidelines.  These procedures shall include adoption of guidelines, designation of district level and site-based staff responsible for policy implementation and the development of a work plan with district-wide assessment, timeline and evaluation indicators.  An annual report will be made to the School Board to ensure district wide compliance with the policy and guidelines.


The school district will develop and implement a communications plan which includes staff and student training and communication to families to ensure understanding of the rationale for the wellness policy and needs and actions of the wellness policy.

Wellness Policy Implementation



  1. Foods and Beverages in Schools
  1. School Meals
  1. The school district will provide healthy and safe school meal programs that comply with all federal, state, and local statutes and regulations.
  2. The Food Services Department will aim to be self-supporting; however, budget neutrality or profit generation will not take precedence over the nutritional needs of students.
  3. The Food Service Director will establish a menu committee that includes parents, students, and staff to assist in choosing new menu items to be served in schools.
  4. The District will accommodate the changing special nutrition needs of students; and will accommodate the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of our community.
  5. Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on including a variety of fruits and vegetables from the blue/purple, green, white, yellow/orange, and red fruit and vegetable groups on the monthly menu.
  • Serve only low fat (1%) and fat free milk except when whole or 2% milk is recommended for students with special nutritional needs; offer lactose reduced milk when requested by students and/or parent/guardian;
  • Work towards ensuring that at least half of served grains are whole grain;
  • Continue to exclude deep fried foods and strive to replace higher fat main entrée items with lower fat items as appropriate;
  • Continue to replace menu items that contain trans fats with foods that do not contain trans fats.
  • Be served in portion sizes that meet National School Lunch Program and Breakfast Program requirements.
  • Meet current USDA nutrition requirements.


  1. Food Safety
  1. All foods sold or served to students will be prepared in health inspected facilities under the guidance of food safety certified staff.
  2. The District will provide student access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before students eat any meals or snacks.


  1. Scheduling of Meals
  1. School sites will make every effort to provide sufficient time for all students to eat in the school cafeteria and will schedule meal periods at appropriate times during the school day.  Schools will move towards:
  • Providing students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 15 minutes to eat after sitting down for lunch; and
  • Arranging for accommodations for students who need more time to finish their lunch; and
  • Scheduling meal periods at appropriate times i.e. lunch should be served between 10:50 AM and 1PM; and
  • Scheduling lunch periods to follow recess periods in elementary schools to increase student nutrient intake and reduce food waste; and
  • Offering attractive dining areas which have enough space for seating all students scheduled for that meal period; and
  • Schools will evaluate their open campus policy taking into consideration the food choices that students make when they are able to leave campus.


  1. The district and individual school sites will, to the extent possible, arrange bus schedules and utilize methods to serve school breakfast that encourage participation, including “grab and go” breakfast, breakfast in the classroom, or breakfast during morning break.


  1. Food and Behavior
  1. Schools will not use foods or beverages as rewards for academic performance or good behavior (unless this practice is allowed by a student’s individual education plan, behavior intervention plan, or a 504 Individual Accommodation Plan).
  2. Schools will not withhold foods or beverages as punishment.  


  1. Fundraising
  1. Fundraising efforts will be supportive of healthy eating by emphasizing the sale healthy food items or of non food items.
  2. Fundraising activities which involve the sale of food will take place outside the school day (school day is defined as ½ hour before school starts until after the school bell rings at the end of the school day) and must meet the guidelines for foods sold outside of reimbursable meals menus.
  3. Students and staff will be prohibited from personal fundraising efforts that include the sale of foods or beverages on campus.
  4. The district wellness committee will disseminate a list of healthy fundraising options to schools and student organizations and will serve as a resource.
  5. The district will make external organizations (e.g. parent teacher organizations, booster clubs, etc.) using school property aware of the policy regarding fundraising with food and beverage items and will encourage them to adopt the same policy. The district wellness committee will supply a list of healthier food choices and other choices for fundraising and will offer to help source certain items as is feasible.


  1. Celebrations


a.   Classroom celebrations should encourage healthy choices and portion control and not include more than one item that does not meet the requirements for foods sold outside of the reimbursable meals menus.

b.    The district wellness committee will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers and will serve as a resource.  

  1. Sharing Foods and Beverages


Schools should not allow students to share their food or beverages with one another during meal or snack times given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets.

  1. Snacks


Snacks served during the school day or in after school care or enrichment programs will make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health.  The district will work towards serving whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy as the primary snack items.

  1. Foods Sold Outside of the Reimbursable Meals Menus


The District will recognize that the purpose of all foods sold outside of the reimbursable meals menu are for in between or as an addition to balanced meals.  Foods and beverages sold or served on campus (including, but not limited to, concessions, school stores, vending, beverage contracts, and a la carte cafeteria items) will be limited to the following:


At Elementary Schools

  • Reimbursable meal menu items;
  • Fruits;
  • Vegetables;
  • Lowfat Dairy Items;
  • Yogurt;


At Middle/Junior High and High Schools (includes grades 6-8 in K-8 buildings)

  • Reimbursable meal menu items;
  • Foods that contain 7 grams of fat or less per serving;
  • Foods that do not have sugar or other caloric sweeteners as the first ingredient;


  1. Beverages
  1. The following beverages may be allowed for sale in all Minneapolis Public Schools:
  • unflavored or flavored low fat or fat free fluid milk and nutritionally equivalent nondairy beverages (to be defined by USDA);

water without added caloric sweeteners or artificial sweeteners;

100% juice.

  1. The following beverages will not be allowed for sale in any Minneapolis Public Schools:
  • Soft drinks containing caloric sweeteners or artificial sweeteners;
  • Sports drinks;
  • Iced teas;
  • Fruit based drinks that contain less than 100% real fruit juice;
  • beverages containing caffeine, excluding lowfat or fat free chocolate milk (which contain trivial amounts of caffeine).


  1. Portion Sizes


Except in cases where the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program require a larger serving size to meet meal pattern requirements, portion sizes of the following items will be limited to:

  • One and one quarter ounces for baked chips, crackers, popcorn, cereal, trail mix, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit;
  • One ounce for cookies;
  • Two ounces for cereal bars, granola bars, and other bakery items;
  • Four fluid ounces for frozen desserts, including, but not limited to, lowfat or fat free ice cream;
  • Eight ounces for non frozen yogurt;
  • Twelve fluid ounces for beverages, except
  • 16 fluid ounces for milk;
  • Unlimited for water
  • Fruits and non-fried vegetables are exempt from portion size limits.


  1. Food Marketing
  1. School based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion.  As such, schools will limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals sold outside of the reimbursable meals menu.
  2. School based marketing of brands promoting predominantly low nutrition foods and beverages is prohibited.  The promotion of healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy products is encouraged.


  1. Nutrition Education


Schools will provide nutrition education as a part of a holistic, sequential, age appropriate, comprehensive program designed to provide students and their families with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health for a lifetime.  Development and adoption of Nutrition Education curricula will follow district policies 6200 and 6220 and the accompanying regulations regarding new curricula.  Nutrition Education at MPS will:

  1. Develop and deliver a sequential, interdisciplinary comprehensive K-12 health education program that will be included as part of a K-12 comprehensive curriculum delivered by a licensed elementary (K-5) or Health Educator (7-12) in grade level bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12;
  2. Be offered as a part of an early and consistent program that is integrated throughout the school day and after school programs;
  3. Use the school cafeteria as a “learning laboratory” and include enjoyable , developmentally age-appropriate, participatory activities such as taste tests, promotions, farm visits to farms and gardens;
  4. Be culturally relevant and teach students about cross-cultural nutrition;
  5. Link with school meal programs, other school foods and nutrition-related community services;
  6. Provide and promote nutrition education to families and the broader community in cooperation with such agencies as WIC, Community Health Clinics, ECFE, Adult Education and other community organizations;
  7. Be reviewed district-wide annually by school health education instructors, food service, health related services, city-wide student government, and medical and nutrition professionals;
  8. Promote a healthy lifestyle and wellness programs using district communications resources such as cable channel 15 and PSAs;
  9. Train staff in stress management, nutrition education and provide general wellness resources and opportunities.


  1. Physical Activity
  1. Physical Education (P.E.)
  1. The district will encourage all schools to provide students regular physical education of 150 minutes/week for elementary and 225 minutes/week for middle and high school students for the entire school year.
  2. The district will maintain graduation requirements of two credits of both Health and Physical Education in high school.
  3. The district will follow state compulsory instruction law which requires all students ages 7-16 (and kindergarten) to receive instruction in health and physical education.  There will be no exemptions to this law (i.e., choice between band, foreign language and physical education is not permissible).
  4. All physical education will be taught by a certified physical education teacher.
  5. Physical education courses will provide an opportunity for students to learn, practice and be assessed on developmentally appropriate motor skills, social skills and knowledge.  
  6. Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity (i.e. interscholastic or intramural sports or elective classes such as marching band) will not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirement.  
  7. Students will spend at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.  
  8. The district will establish an enrollment cap for PE class sizes to ensure adequate supervision and minimize risk of school district liability for injuries.
  9. Schools will increase the number of physical education electives available to high school students.
  10. Age appropriate physical activities to promote positive growth and development will be implemented for early childhood programs within the district.


  1. Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting     

For students to receive the recommended amount of physical activity throughout the day (i.e. at least 60 minutes per day) and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond PE (Physical Education) education class.   Toward that end:

  1. Classroom health education will reinforce the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce sedentary activities such as watching television;

  2. Opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject lessons (such as science, math and social studies), where appropriate; and

  3. Classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.

  4. Schools will discourage extended periods (i.e. periods of two or more hours) of inactivity.

  1. Daily Recess


All elementary school students will have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, preferably before lunch and outdoors, during which schools should encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment.  

  1. Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School
  1. All schools will provide every student with opportunities to voluntarily participate in extra curricular physical activities that meets his or her needs interests and abilities.
  2. Middle and High Schools shall offer intramural physical activity programs that feature a broad range of competitive and cooperative activities.  
  3. High Schools shall offer interscholastic athletic programs that shall adhere to the rules and regulations of the Minnesota State High School League.
  4. Schools shall work with recreation agencies and other community organizations to coordinate and enhance opportunities available to students and staff for physical activity during their out-of-school time.
  5. Out of school hour childcare and programs will provide and encourage – verbally and through the provision of space, equipment, and activities – daily periods of moderate to vigorous physical activity for all participants.
  6. School facilities will be available to student staff and community members before and after the school day, on weekends, and during school vacations for physical activity and nutrition programs through Community Education.  
  7. School communities will examine if biking and walking to school is safe and encourage students to bike and walk to school where appropriate.


  1. Physical Activity and Punishment


Teachers and other school and community personnel will not use physical activity (i.e. running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (i.e. recess, physical education) as punishment.  


  1. Staff Wellness


School staff serve as role models for students and are the key to successful implementation of student wellness programs.  Therefore, the district and schools should offer staff wellness programs as well as general wellness resources and opportunities. This may include workshops and presentations on health promotion, stress management, education and resources that will enhance morale, encourage healthy lifestyles, prevent injury, reduce chronic diseases, and foster exceptional role modeling.

  1. Communication with Families and the Community
  1. The district recognizes that parents and guardians have a primary and fundamental role in promoting and protecting their children’s health and well-being.

  2. The district will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children.

  3. The district encourages parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and refrain from including beverages and foods without nutritional value.

  4. The district will provide information to families, community based organizations and the general public about ways to promote healthy lifestyles.

  5. The district will encourage community based organizations and other out of school time activity providers to provide healthy foods and physical activity as part of their programming.

  6. The district will encourage community based organizations and other out of school time activity providers to adopt wellness policies that will promote healthy lifestyles.


F.  Implementation and Monitoring

  1. The Superintendent shall execute administrative procedures that ensure the implementation of and compliance with the wellness policy.  These procedures shall include adoption of current guidelines, the designation of district level and site-based staff responsible for policy implementation and an implementation work plan.

  2. An annual report will be made to the School Board to ensure district wide compliance with the policy.

  3. A Wellness Committee shall be formed to plan, implement and improve the school district’s nutrition and physical activity environment.

  4. A district-wide assessment will be implemented to assess the nutrition and physical activity needs of students.  Assessments will be repeated every three years to help review policy compliance, assess programs, and determine areas in need of improvement.

  5. An implementation work plan will be created with timeline and evaluation indicators.

  6. Schools will include wellness policy implementation plans in their School Improvement Plans.

  7. The school district will develop and implement a communications plan which includes training to ensure understanding of the rationale for the wellness policy and the implementation plan.


Legal References:    42 U.S.C. § 1751 et seq. (Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act)

    42 U.S.C. § 1771 et seq. (Child Nutrition Act of 1966)

    P.L. 108-265 (2004) § 204 (Local Wellness Policy)

    7 U.S.C. § 5341 (Establishment of Dietary Guidelines)

    7 C.F.R. § 210.10 (School Lunch Program Regulations)

    7 C.F.R. § 220.8 (School Breakfast Program Regulations)


Local Resources:    Action for Healthy Kids Minnesota, www.actionforhealthykids.org and www.actionforhealthykids.org/filelib/toolsforteams/recom/MN-Healthy%20Foods%20for%20Kids%208-2004.pdf

    American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance American Heart Association, www.americanheart.org

    Center for Disease Control

    Hennepin County Health Department

    Minnesota Department of Education, www.education.state.mn.us

    Minnesota Department of Health, www.health.state.mn.us

    National Alliance for Nutrition & Activity

    School Nutrition, www.schoolnutrition.org

    University of Minnesota Extension Service