Child Nutrition Toolkit

The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living is developing a series of toolkits to accompany the reports, Healthy Children, Healthy State, to raise awareness of child health risk factors in order to develop new programs and actions, and to build on current initiatives in Texas.

The Child Nutrition Toolkit below is based on evidence, best-practices, and findings from an external messaging campaign conducted in 2019 for the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. This toolkit consists of resources, data, tools, and guides. Use this toolkit to learn about the current nutrition crisis in Texas and how you can impact our state's health. 

This toolkit was last updated on January 19, 2022.

Texas SPAN Data Explorer

  • The School Physical Activity & Nutrition (SPAN) Survey from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published their 2015-2016 Child Nutrition in Texas results online in an interactive database. This interactive database shows results by state and regions of the state for grades 2, 4, 8, and 11.

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General Nutrition Resources and Information:

Sugar and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages:

  • The Healthy Children, Healthy State status report project from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages one-pager to highlight the current state of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in Texas.
  • This Beverage focus area from Healthy Eating Research is a hub of current guidelines, resources, and publications related to sugary beverages.
  • Get the Facts: Added Sugars in this data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement on Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents with current guidelines for consumption.
  • The American Heart Association published a blog post on The Skinny on Sugary Drinks that showcases the amount of sugar in common beverages and discusses guidelines.
  • This report from the UCONN Rudd Center for Food Policy & Beverages discusses sugary drink advertising to youth.
  • A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the sweetened beverage tax in Philadelphia is associated with a reduction in soda intake among high school students.
  • Voices for Healthy Kids created a resource round-up of Fast Facts for Sugary Drinks.

Fruit and Vegetables:

  • The School Physical Activity & Nutrition (SPAN) Survey from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published their 2015-2016 results online in an interactive database. This interactive database highlights fruit and vegetable consumption and shows results by state and regions of the state for grades 2, 4, 8, and 11.
  • This State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights the status of 10 indicators of fruit and vegetable access and production.
  • The Have a Plant website from the Produce for Better Health Foundation shares healthy recipes searchable by produce name, cooking style, preferred diet and more.
  • The Eat Right website from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares information on food, health, and fitness for all age levels.
  • The Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Curriculum from the Junior Master Gardener provides lessons on gardening and health.

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General Nutrition Programs and Services:

  • The USDA shares program information for the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act to improve child nutrition. Read more about this act and the programs this act allowed to be funded including the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and more.
  • The Go NAPSACC program from the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention provides child care providers with ways to make healthy changes to their programs.
  • The CDC created a Healthy Schools Partner Promotion Toolkit to raise awareness of the USDA School Meal Programs and to encourage participation in the program.

General Nutrition Resources and Information:

  • The CATCH project from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published this Food at School Parties infographic to spotlight how one year of school party food affects children.
  • The Lunch Is In The Bag project from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published this What Can I Pack in My Child's Lunch infographic to share ideas on safe, nutritious packed lunches
  • This Guide to Eating for Sports from TeensHealth highlights important nutrition guidelines for teens participating in sports.
  • This Healthy Eating for Girls guide from GirlsHealth showcases tips for healthy eating, healthy weight, food labels, and other nutrition guidelines.

School Nutrition Policies and Programs:

Sugar and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages:


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General Nutrition Resources and Information:

  • The Food and Nutrition Service program listing from the USDA highlights all programs available in the USA. This database allows you to search for programs by state or by program.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a Healthy Food Environments overview with information on how worksites, hospitals, early care and education programs, schools, states and communities, and restaurants can contribute to healthy food environments.
  • The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service website offers practical information for families on healthy eating, wellness and making informed decisions related to food quality and safety.
  • The Central Texas Diabetes Coalition shares information on exercise, nutrition and prevention classes for free or low-cost.
  • The Central Texas Food Bank website shares free food and knowledge on low-cost, healthy eating with families in need and assist families who qualify for federal assistance programs.
  • The Houston Food Bank is America's largest food bank in distribution and services 18 counties.
  • Feeding Texas is the largest hunger relief organization in Texas and is a member of Feeding America. Find your local food bank through their online system. 
  • The People's Community Clinic offers nutrition education to help individuals make lasting lifestyle changes to improve their health.
  • The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) advocates national policies and programs to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest provides evidence-based nutrition articles and resources.
  • The UCONN Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity shares solutions to childhood obesity, poor diet, and weight bias through research and policy.

COVID-19 Impact on Nutrition:

Fruit and Vegetables:

  • The Sustainable Food Center in Austin, Texas publishes recipes, ways to support farmers, food access and more on their website.
  • The Fresh for Less Program offers fresh, affordable, convenient, and nutritious food in Austin, Texas.

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Learn about the nutrition crisis in Texas: