Smart Snacks in School
What are Smart Snacks?
Schools who participate in the National School Lunch Program must meet a specific nutrition standard set by the USDA for all foods sold at school during the school day. All snacks sold a la carte, in vending machines, or in the school store must meet the Smart Snacks in School regulation. Smart Snacks are provided in hopes of helping children make healthier choices and limit higher caloric food items.Â All of the snacks we provide have passed these regulations set by USDA.
Keep In Mind:
Not all snacks will always be available. Depending on popularity demands, it may be difficult for us to keep certain snacks stocked at all times. But, as long as they continue to be compliant to the Smart Snack regulations, they will continue to be provided.
Products are also constantly changing. Under the School Nutrition Program, we are required to follow the regulations set. If a product no longer meets these guidelines, for whatever reason, we can no longer offer this item.
How to get information about each Smart Snack provided:
Hershey Primary Elementary and Hershey Middle School offer a wide range of different snacks. By clicking the links attached to each school name, you will be directed to a page containing a list of all the smart snacks offered at each specific school. You will see a picture of each snack provided as well as the product name underneath. You can click on the name or the picture of any product and you will be directed to a new page. This page will provide all nutrition information for the product, such as the ingredients and food label. By providing this information we hope to help students with food allergies or specific requirements become aware of what foods they can and cannot eat.
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.
Kids 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 to 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 to 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