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Smart Snacks in School

We are focused on the health of our school environment. Our school district has established nutrition standards for all snacks sold in school by any entity, including parent/student organizations, teachers, boosters, fundraisers, or the food and nutrition services department. These standards for snack sales are in effect from any time before school through 1/2 hour after school, in accordance with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the USDA and our district Wellness Policy. Non-compliant foods may be sold from 1/2 hour after school through the end of the day. These standards carefully balance science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating on campus. 

Kids often need snacks to help them get enough calories (ENERGY) throughout the day. Choosing healthy snacks that add nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, to their diets is essential. Smart snacking is a great way to meet daily nutrient requirements that may be missed at meal times.

Students in our district are offered healthier school meals with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The Smart Snacks in School standards published by the USDA will build on those healthy advancements by ensuring that all other snack foods and beverages available for sale to students in school are tasty and nutritious. Maybe if I add some text here that might make a difference.

Check your snack's nutritional compliance here!

Nutrition Standards for Foods

Any food sold in school must:

  • Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
  • Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein food; or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
  • Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber)

Foods must also meet several nutrient requirements:

Calorie limits

  • Snack items - Elementary Schools: ≤ 175 calories
  • Snack items - Middle & High Schools: ≤ 200 calories
  • Entrée items: ≤ 350 calories

Sodium limits

  • Snack items: ≤ 200 mg
  • Entrée items: ≤ 480 mg

Fat limits

  • Total fat: ≤ 35% of calories
  • Saturated fat: ≤ 10% of calories
  • Trans fat: zero grams

Sugar limit ≤ 35% of weight from total sugars in foods

Accompaniments

Accompaniments such as cream cheese, salad dressing and butter must be included in the nutrient profile as part of the food item sold. This helps control the amount of calories, fat, sugar and sodium added to foods.

Nutrient Standards for Beverages

All schools may sell:

  • Plain water (with or without carbonation)
  • Unflavored low fat milk
  • Unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives permitted by NSLP/SBP
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice, and 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water (with or without carbonation) and no added sweeteners

Elementary schools may sell up to 8-ounce portions, while middle and high schools may sell up to 12-ounce portions of milk and juice. There is no portion size limit for plain water.

Beyond this, the standards allow additional “no calorie” and “lower calorie” beverage options for high school students.

  • No more than 20-ounce portions of calorie-free, flavored water (with or without carbonation); and other flavored and/or carbonated beverages that are labeled to contain < 5 calories per 8 fluid ounces or ≤ 10 calories per 20 fluid ounces.
  • No more than 12-ounce portions of beverage with ≤ 40 calories per 8 fluid ounces, or ≤ 60 calories per 12 fluid ounces. Healthy Fundraisers
  • Food items that meet nutrition standards are not limited
  • The standards do not apply during non-school hours, on weekends and at off-campus fundraising events
  • The standards provide a special exemption for infrequent fundraisers that do not meet the nutrition standards. Each State agency is responsible for establishing the number of exempt fundraisers that may be held in schools each year.

 

Kids in the KitchenKids in the Kitchen

There are plenty of fun ways to liven up snack time using healthy fruits, vegetables, and cheeses. Kids will love creating and eating fun-to-make snacks with you in the kitchen! Click on the image to the right to watch a video and learn about some fun and healthy snack ideas that you can make with your kids in the kitchen.

Snacking Tips for Parents

  • Plan ahead and buy healthy snacks when you shop. You will save money and make healthier choices than if you or your kids are buying snacks on the go.
  • Provide kids with choices and make those choices nutritious.
  • Pre-portion you child's snacks into small plastic bags to grab on the go.
  • Combine snacks from at least two food groups to pack more nutrients into your child's diet... it will be more filling and it will hold them over till the next meal.
  • And remember... space snacks far enough between meals so appetites are not spoiled!

Two Simple Steps to Delicious and Nutritious Snacks
Katie-Jeffery-Lunn, MS, RD, CDN, LDN

Healthy, Fun Snacks and Desserts for the Whole Family
Reyna Franco, MS, RD, CDN

Healthy, Tasty and Creative Snacks for Kids
Katie-Jeffery-Lunn, MS, RD, CDN, LDN

Visit MealsMatter.org for more snack ideas.

Back to Nutrition for Parents

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