• Smart Snacks in Schools

    Children 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 Columbia Public Schools are offered healthier school meals with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The Smart Snack standards published by the USDA will build on those healthy advancements by ensuring that all other snack food and beverages available for sale to students in school are tasty and nutritious.

    Nutrition Standards for Competitive/Snack Foods

    • Any food in school must include one of the following
      • Be a "whole grain-rich" product
      • The first ingredient is a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food
      • Combination food with at least 1/4 cup of fruit and/or vegetable
    • Foods must also meet several nutrition requirements
      • Calorie limits
        • Snack Items: less than or equal to 200 Calories
        • Entree Items: less than or equal to 350 Calories
      • Sodium Limits
        • Snack Items: less than or equal to 200 mg
        • Entree Items: less than or equal to 480 mg
      • Fat Limits
        • Total Fat: less than or equal to 35% of Calories
        • Saturated Fat: less than 10% of Calories
        • Trans Fat: 0 grams
      • Sugar Limits
        • less than or equal to 35% of weight from total sugars in food
    • Accompaniments
      • Items such as cream cheese, salad dressing, and butter must be included in the nutrient profile as part of the food item sold
    • Caffeine
      • Elementary and Middle School foods and beverages must be caffeine-free with the exception of trace amounts of naturally occurring caffeine substances
      • High School food and beverages may contain caffeine

    Smart School Standards begin at midnight and end thirty (30) minutes after the school day ends. 

    The standards do not apply thirty (30) minutes after school ends, weekends, and at off-campus fundraising events.


    Nutrition Standards for Beverages

    • All schools may sell:
      • Plain Water (with or without carbonation)
      • Unflavored low fat milk
      • Unflavored or flavored fat free milk
      • 100% fruit or vegetable juice
      • 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.
    • High School Students only:
      • No more than 20 ounce portions of:
        • Calorie-free, flavored water (with or without carbonation)
        • Other flavored and/or carbonated beverages that are labeles to contain less than 5 calories per 8 fluid ounces or less than or equaly to 10 calories per 20 fluid ounces
      • No more than 12 ounce portions of:
        • Beverages with less than or equal to 40 calories per 8 fluid ounces, or less than or equal to 60 calories per 12 fluid ounces.

    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.

    Nutrition Standards for foods sold in schools

    Smart Snack ideas for parties and celebrations

    Smart Snack fundraiser ideas for schools and organizations


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