Smart Snacks in School
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the authority to establish nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold outside of the Federal child nutrition programs in schools. The “Smart Snacks in School” (Smart Snacks) standards promote healthier eating in schools by ensuring students have only nutritious food options available during the school day. For more information about the Smart Snacks standards, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/smart-snacks-school.
What are Smart Snacks?
The Smart Snacks in School standards published by the USDA ensure that all foods and beverages available for sale to students in school, including snacks, are tasty and nutritious. The standards incorporate science-based nutrition guidelines and set limits on the amount of calories, sodium, fat and sugar included in items sold to students during the school day. The USDA updated the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2017 to include Smart Snacks in the Classroom standards. These standards include foods that aren't sold but instead brought inside the classroom by students, parents/guardians or teachers and foods used in celebrations or classroom parties.
Why are we implementing the Smart Snacks standards?
The School District of Clayton’s compliance with the Smart Snacks standards is included in its regular audit by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The Smart Snacks standards went into effect on July 1, 2014.
How do Smart Snacks change what foods and beverages are served at school?
The Smart Snacks standards provide healthier alternatives to some foods previously sold in the cafeteria, such as replacing cookies and regular soda with granola bars and no-calorie flavored water. All foods sold in Clayton's schools must meet at least one of the following requirements.
- Be a whole grain rich product
- Have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein listed as the first ingredient
- Be a “combination food” with at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable
- Contain 10 percent of the Daily Values of one nutrient of public health concern (calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber)
Foods and beverages must also meet specific nutritional requirements related to calories, fat, sodium and sugar. View the complete list of standards for foods sold during the school day.
Do the standards apply to food and beverages sold before or after school?
The USDA defines the school day as beginning at midnight prior to the school day and continuing until 30 minutes after the end of the school day.
What do Smart Snacks mean for fundraisers by PTOs and school groups?
During the school day, only foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snack standards can be sold in fundraisers. The standards do not apply to items sold during non-school hours, weekends or off-campus fundraising events, such as frozen pizza sales or concessions during sporting events.
The standards provide special exemption for infrequent fundraisers that do not meet the nutrition standards. DESE allows each school to host five fundraisers per year that are exempt from the Smart Snack standards.All fundraisers from PTOs and school groups must be approved by the school’s principal. Groups must submit a Fundraiser Request Form 30 days prior to the date of the fundraiser. This form also should be used to request a fundraiser be exempt from the Smart Snack standards.
The USDA passed new regulations in 2017 regarding the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to add "Smart Snacks in the Classroom" standards. One of the major changes required by the new rules states that school districts must have "standards for all foods and beverages provided, but not sold, to students during the school day."
Do the Smart Snacks in the Classroom standards limit what food I can send to school with my child for lunch?
No. The Smart Snacks in the Classroom standards only pertain to foods and beverages that are provided by the District to students during the school day. The new standards do not apply to foods and beverages students bring to school to eat for lunch.
Do the Smart Snacks in the Classroom standards limit the food provided during classroom celebrations, such as holiday parties and birthdays?
Yes. Foods and beverages provided by the District to students during the school day must meet Smart Snacks standards. (A school day is defined as the time period from midnight before until 30 minutes after the official school day.) This includes, but is not limited to, foods and beverages provided or made available to students for celebrations, classroom parties, field days, promotion ceremonies and birthdays. Previously, the District only had to adhere to the Smart Snacks in School standards for foods and beverages sold to students on District property during the school day.
Foods and beverages provided by the District to sixth- through 12th-grade students during the school day are allowed exemptions from the Smart Snacks standards. Exemptions must be approved in advance by the school principal. All foods brought into school must also meet the guidelines set forth in the District’s Student Allergy Prevention and Response Policy.