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Nutrition Policy

Only one in 10 Americans meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption. Federal nutrition programs – which have broad reach across every state and community – play a pivotal role in helping Americans achieve the goal of making half their plate fruits and vegetables.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted our country’s underlying health crisis due to poor nutrition. Those with obesity, diabetes and similar conditions caused by poor nutrition who contract COVID are twice as likely to be hospitalized and have an astounding 50% increased likelihood of dying. The immediate crisis of increased risk from communicable disease must lead the new Congress and Administration to immediately and aggressively prioritize nutrition to improve dietary quality for all Americans.

2021 Action Plan

  • Secure a permanent place for fresh produce in USDA’s purchasing and distribution programs for those in need, modeled off the successful components of the Farmers to Families program.
  • Create a new urgency to revamp federal feeding programs such as SNAP to focus on healthy foods and nutrition, rather than simply providing financial support. Ensure all federal nutrition programs align with the government’s own fruit and vegetable serving recommendations as included in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Support students’ access to healthy and nutritious school meals, including a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables through Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

 Nutrition During COVID       Child Nutrition Reauthorization Issue Brief

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School Meals

Fruit and vegetable serving requirements ensure that kids receive a wide variety of produce and are provided in portions appropriate to meeting daily DGA recommendations.

We urge Congress to:

  • Maintain the current serving requirements for fruits and vegetables, including serving size and color subgroups for breakfast and lunch that ensure a wide variety of produce.
  • Increase commodity assistance for breakfast to help ensure schools have access to more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Continue to fund the USDA School Kitchen Equipment grants to help schools access much needed school kitchen equipment.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program One Pager

Nearly 7,600 elementary schools, serving 4 million students, participate in the FFVP that provides students with a free fresh fruit or vegetable snack every day.

We urge Congress to:

  • Ensure FFVP serves only fresh fruits and vegetables, as consistent with the program’s origin and current policy.

Women, Infant and Children's Program (WIC)

More than 7 million low-income pregnant or breastfeeding women, their infants and young children participate in WIC, which provides a targeted food package consistent with the dietary needs of those specific populations.

We urge Congress to: 

  • Increase WIC fruit and vegetable voucher allocations to the level supported in 2017 recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences.

Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP represents the nation’s largest nutrition safety net program, providing nearly 40 million Americans – about half of whom are women and children – with benefits to purchase food and beverages.

We urge Congress to: 

  • Increase FINI funding to serve more participants.
  • Prioritize incentive programs that provide year-round access and convenient hours for consumers and ensuring incentives can only be used for fruits and vegetables.
  • Elevate SNAP to not only be a successful food security program, but a nutrition program, by investing and implementing research, retail and benefit strategies that improve nutrition for SNAP consumers, including increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.

To learn more about nutrition policy please contact Mollie Van Lieu, Senior Director, Nutrition Policy.