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 May 4, 2021.

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:

  • The Healthy Children, Healthy State status report project from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published the Child Nutrition in Texas one-pager to highlight the current state of child nutrition in Texas.
  • The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the USDA lists the nutrition guidelines across topics for all life stages, from birth through older adulthood.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an overview About Micronutrients that discuss vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and development.
  • The USDA has a Child Nutrition Information Center that lists resources, tools, and agencies related to child nutrition and physical activity.
  • Helping Kids Maintain a Healthy Weight from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides helpful tips and facts for families.
  • 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.

Sugar and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages:

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.

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:

  • CATCH Global Foundation promotes healthy choices with their GO, SLOW, WHOA cafeteria module.
    • CATCH Global Foundation provides curriculum for K-5 that discusses the importance of nutrition and exercise.
    Healthy Eating Research released a brief showcasing how Schools Find Success in Reducing Sodium in Meals.
  • The School Meals and Nutrition toolkit from Action for Healthy Kids provides information on helping schools adopt a healthy food culture and following best practices.
  • The Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Curriculum from the Junior Master Gardener provides lessons on gardening and health.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Salad Bars to Schools partnership works to promote and sponsor salad bars in schools.
  • This overview on Healthy Schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discusses the direct impact that schools have on youth's nutrition and health habits.
  • This Take Charge of Your Health guide for teenagers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides a "how-to" guide for teenagers ready to make decisions about their health.
  • The Texas Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Division promotes healthy lifestyles with this Square Meals website that showcases available federal nutrition 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:

  • This report from the Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living shows the impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity.
  • This data brief from the Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living shows the impact of COVID-19 on food access.
  • Healthy Eating Research released a brief on Strengthening WIC's Impact During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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.