Healthy Snacking in Schools

 

Whitsons School Nutrition is committed to providing the best combination of nutrients available to your child while they are in our care. Our highest priority is to serve your children healthy meals that offer them the best in choice, quality and taste.

 

The USDA has recently changed the regulations regarding snacks in schools. These mandated changes are part of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) and require snack foods and beverages sold to children at school during the school day to meet certain nutritional guidelines.

 

What does this new ruling mean for my child?

This ruling ensures that children are only offered nutritious foods during their school day and minimizes their exposure to “junk” foods. The standard requires all foods sold in school to:

·       Be at least 50% whole grains by weight or have whole grain as first ingredient and any remaining ingredients must be enriched; or

·       Have a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein as the first ingredient. If water is the first ingredient, the second ingredient must be a fruit, vegetable, whole grain, dairy or protein, or

·       Be a combination food of at least 1/4 cup of fruit and/or vegetable. These foods must also meet the following nutrient requirements:

o   Calories for snacks and sides should be 200 or less.

o   Calories for entrees should be 350 or less.

o   Sodium for snacks and sides should be 200 mg or less.

o   Sodium for entrees should be 480mg or less.

o   Total Fat for snacks, sides and entrees should be less than 35% of the total calories.

o   Saturated Fats for snacks, sides and entrees should be less than 10% of total calories.

o   Sugar should for snacks, sides and entrees should be no more than 35% of total sugars by weight and no more than 15grams of total sugars as served. 

·       Exemptions for these rules are: dried fruit with nuts or seeds with no added sweeteners, nuts, nut butters, seeds, reduced fat cheese, etc. This list is not exhaustive. Check with your Food Service Director for more information.

·       Smoothies are allowed as long as they’re made with low-fat/ nonfat yogurt and 100% fruit juice.

·       *Effective July 1, 2016, no more than 200 mg of sodium will be allowed.

 

What about beverages?

This rule also applies to beverages. The ruling requires that beverages sold at all school levels be:

·       Plain regular or carbonated water with no added sugars, sweeteners or caffeine can be served in any size.

·       Unflavored 1% or flavored or unflavored fat free milk with 4g or less of sugar per oz.

·       Elementary students may have milk served in the 8-ounce size or less; it must contain 4 grams of sugar or less per ounce.

·       Middle school students may be served milk in the 12-ounce size or less; it must contain 4 grams of sugar or less per ounce.

·       High school students may be served milk in the 12-ounce size or less; it must contain 4 grams of sugar or less per ounce.

·       Unflavored non-dairy milks must not have more than 4g of sugar per ounce, no more than 35% of calories from fat and no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat.

·       100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sugar. Elementary students may have the 8 ounce size, or less. Middle School students may have the 12-ounce size, or less. High school students may have the 12-ounce size or less.

·       No artificial sweeteners or caffeine are allowed.

·       Other flavored carbonated drinks are not allowed at any grade level.

 

 

What about a la carte items?

Entree items served a la carte are exempt from this standard ONLY IF they’re served the same day; are the same or smaller portion size; have the same accompaniments; meet the trans fats standard and do not contain artificial sweeteners. All side dishes sold a la carte are never exempt for this rule.

 

Do these changes affect fundraising activities?

It depends on the state you live in. Different states have different restrictions on a la carte and fundraising sales. Contact your Food Service Director for more information.