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 icon[PDF-30.6MB]external icon.  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 icon[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

Food Service Guidelines Easy Access to Healthy Foods

Food Service Guidelines: Easy Access to Healthy Food 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 icon[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 icon[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 icon[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.

Food Service Guidelines Case Studies

The Food Service Guidelines: Case Studies from States and Communities pdf icon[PDF-1.9MB] highlights five case studies of food and beverage guidelines developed to improve the food environment. The case studies provide information on the implementation and evaluation of food service guidelines, along with descriptions of site-specific successes and challenges.

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 icon[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.

Healthy Hospital Environments

A Toolkit for Creating Healthy Hospital Environments: Making Healthier Food, Beverage, and Physical Activity Choices provides guidance to promote and support healthy food, beverage, and physical activity options in hospitals. It includes information about engaging stakeholders, assessing needs, and it also contains assessment tools for food, beverage and physical activity environments.

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.