The USDA's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 updated guidelines for what can be sold to students on campus during the school day outside the standard meal offerings. The "Smart Snacks in School" rule allows "more of the foods we should encourage [and] less of the foods we should avoid,".
Focus on Fruits and Veggies
Encourage students to enjoy a rainbow of colors when choosing snacks! Include nutritional powerhouse items such as salads made with dark green and red-orange vegetables.
Cut the Calories
As part of the USDA's Smart Snacks standards, calorie limits for snack items must be less than or equal to 200 calories, and entrée items must be less than or equal to 350 calories.
Fix the Fat
Total fat is limited to less than or equal to 35% of calories with exemptions for some good-for-you foods such as reduced-fat cheese, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, unsweetened dried fruits, and some seafood.
The Smart Snacks in School rule has established age-appropriate portion size standards for all non-water beverages reinforcing the important dietary concepts of moderation and balance.
The Smart Snacks Breakdown
- Meet specific nutrient standards for calories, fats, sodium, and total amount of sugar
- Be a whole-grain-rich product OR have as the first ingredient a fruit, vegetable, dairy product, or protein food
- Be a "combination food" with at least ¼ cup fruit and/or vegetable
Improvements Beyond the Cafeteria
Well-nourished children perform better in the classroom, and these changes will encourage cooperation — along with school nutrition programs and the entire school environment — to create an optimal cultural shift towards wellness.