Food Service Guidelines

Food service guidelines are standards for healthier food and beverages and food service operations in worksite and community settings. Food service guidelines may:

  • Contribute to health and wellness of employees.
  • Change the social norms to create expectations for healthier food and beverage availability.
  • Strengthen local food systems.
  • Improve facility management of natural resources.
  • Increase energy efficiency.
  • Reduce harmful environmental impact.

Food service guidelines should align with the most current version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [PDF-30.6MB].  If you have already developed food service guidelines that are in line with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, feel free to keep using them for your food service work.  However, if you are just starting this work, we recommend that you use the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities [PDF-3.34MB] rather than reinventing the wheel.

The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities is one the most comprehensive set of guidelines available.  It includes standards for food and nutrition, facility efficiency, environmental support, community development, food safety, and behavioral design.  Written to improve access to healthier foods and beverages at federal facilities, this model set of guidelines can be readily used in public and private settings within your state or community. See Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities: A Model for Your State or Community for additional details.

Where can food service guidelines be used?

In settings such as:

  • Federal, state, and local government facilities
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Colleges and universities
  • Private worksites
  • Parks and recreation centers
  • Stadiums

In venues such as:

  • Cafeterias and cafés
  • Snack bars and grills
  • Concession stands
  • Micro markets
  • Sundry shops
  • Vending machines

Success Stories

The 2019 Food Service Guidelines Local Action Institute brought together diverse teams to develop a plan that makes healthier food service and procurement practices a reality. Read about the positive impact in New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Food Service Guideline Resources

Icon: Food Service Guidelines

The Food Service Guidelines Implementation Toolkit helps explain how to build a foundation; strategize and act; monitor and evaluate; and expand initiatives.

Food Service Guidelines Easy Access to Healthy Foods

Food Service Guidelines: Easy Access to Healthy Food [PDF-2.5MB] is a two-page infographic that explains food service guidelines. Share the link or download the PDF to show decision-makers in your community or institution.

Food Service Guidelines Policy

The Food Service Guidelines (FSG) policy [PDF-290KB] helps to create a healthier food environment at CDC and supports the health and well-being of its employees. The organizational policy provides direction and requirements to ensure that all new and renegotiated food service contracts and permits at CDC meet the standards outlined in the current Food Service Guidelines (FSG) for Federal Facilities [PDF-3.34MB].

Smart Food Choices: How to Implement Food Service Guidelines in Public Facilities

Smart Food Choices: How to Implement Food Service Guidelines in Public Facilities [PDF-3.47MB] includes action steps to help you implement food service guidelines in your government work site or other public facility to increase the availability of healthier food and beverage options at food service venues, including cafeterias, concession stands, snack bars, and vending machines.

Tips for Offering Healthier Options and Physical Activity at Workplace Meetings and Events

Tips For Offering Healthier Options and Physical Activity at Workplace Meetings and Events [PDF-665KB] includes pointers and resources for increasing healthier food and beverage options at worksite meetings, parties, conferences, and events and for offering physical activity opportunities for employees throughout the work day.

Sodium Reduction Tools and Training for Health Professionals

Sodium Reduction Guides and Strategies for Health Professionals has resources to support sodium reduction in local and community settings.

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