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Federal Snack Requirements

In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requiring school cafeterias to make significant changes to the meals students receive during the school day.

Changes phased in over several years include decreased fat and sodium, and increased amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains served throughout the week. These changes have been made by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The federal requirements include changes in the nutritional standards for snacks, called “Smart Snacks”.  Smart Snacks set the standards for all foods sold throughout the school day including cafeteria a la carte options, vending machines, school stores, snack bars, fundraisers, and at school activities.

The nutrition standards for snacks are as follows:

  • whole-grain rich products
  • or the first ingredient must be a fruit, vegetable, dairy product, or protein food
  • or may be a combination food containing at least ¼ cup 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)
  • Limitations on sodium, sugar, fats, and calories

Beverages sold during the school day will also be required to meet set standards:

  • Schools may sell water, unflavored low fat milk, unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives, 100% fruit or vegetable juice or 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water with no added sweeteners
  • Milk may be up to eight ounces in the elementary schools and may be up to 12 ounces in middle and high school
  • High schools may also sell no calorie and low calorie beverage options such as flavored water, and carbonated beverages with less than five calories per eight fluid ounces and no more than 12-ounce portions of beverages with 40 calories per eight fluid ounces or 60 calories per 12 fluid ounces

Lastly, all food and beverage fundraisers located on school property must meet the minimum requirements in the nutrition standards for foods sold in school.  Therefore, fundraising that sells high fat and/or high sugar items such as candy or snack foods are not be permitted during the school day. It is important to note, the standards do not apply to fundraisers that are off campus or during the weekends.

These changes are being made in order to offer your children only healthy and nutritious food options while they are at school, allowing them to be the best student they can be. We appreciate your support as we transition to smart snacks in school.