Our Standards

Holistic Look at Food in Schools


Our standards not only look at what the ingredients are but where they come from and how they are prepared. We look at the school food environment and how school districts are encouraging and promoting real food to their students and greater communities.

Evidence-Based Comprehensive Approach

Our standards were created by a group of expert advisors ranging from scientists, medical doctors, and industry professionals from restaurants, schools, and agriculture.  We have a commitment to continuous improvement so our standards are regularly reviewed and formally updated as new science and data emerges. Over the last two years, we’ve initiated the refinement and adaptation of our standards for the K-12 environment. They have evolved to bring more rigor and capture more in depth analysis.

Why We Chose Our Standards

Eat REAL Certification is modeled after LEED to support transparency, customization, and additionally, ongoing improvement. It is made up of 10 standards measuring 34 key performance indicators with 160 possible points. These standards have been adapted from our seven years of experience engaging 500+ establishments in our Eat REAL certification program. Our time-tested, student centric standards represent best practices across nutrition and sustainability. The standards and assessment serve as tools for K-12 school leaders to create achievable action plans. 

Room for Growth

Eat REAL Certification has been designed to guide and improve school food programs no matter where they are on their journey. The points based system highlights what districts are already doing, and shows opportunity for improvement across the 10 standards. With different levels of certification, our standards allow us to create customized change paths for each school district in the program.

Providing nutritional information for healthy food options

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"Whole child health starts from the inside out. Real food is essential to whole child health."

Dr. Alan Greene, Member, Eat REAL Board

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