Smart Snacks in School
Healthy Snack Calculators
Is Your Snack a Smart Snack? Use the Smart Snacks Product Calculator, developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, to take the guesswork out of nutrition guidelines! Simply enter the product information, answer a few questions, and determine whether your snack, side or entree item meets the new USDA Smart Snacks in School Guidelines.
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.
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:
- Snack items: ≤ 200 calories
- Entrée items: ≤ 350 calories
- Snack items: ≤ 230 mg
- Entrée items: ≤ 480 mg
- 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 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.