Smart Snacks

The Smart Snacks in School guidelines stipulate that all foods sold in school must be a “whole grain rich” product, meaning they contain 50 percent whole grains or have whole grains as the first ingredient OR have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein-rich food. Combination foods that contain at least ¼ cup fruit and/or vegetable or naturally contain 10 percent of the daily value (DV) of calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber will also be accepted.

Calorie limits:

  • Snacks must contain less than or equal to 200 calories
  • A la carte entrees must contain less than or equal to 350 calories

Sugar limits:

  • Snacks must contain less than or equal to 35 percent sugar by weight
  • There are exemptions for dried fruit without added sugars and even those with added nutritive sweeteners that are required for processing and/or palatability purposes (such as cranberries, tart cherries, and blueberries). The USDA will be providing more guidance on this particular exemption in the coming months. Products that consist of only dried fruit with nuts and/or seeds with no added nutritive sweeteners or fat will also be exempt.

Sodium limits:

  • Snacks must contain less than or equal to 200mg sodium
  • A la carte entrees must contain equal or less than 480mg

Fat limits:

  • Total fat must be less than or equal to 35 percent of calories
  • Saturated fat must be less than or equal to 10 percent of calories
  • There must be no trans-fat in the product, per the label
  • There are exemptions for nuts and seeds, nut & seed butters, seafood and part-skim mozzarella cheese

Beverage limits differ based on grade level:

  • Allowable beverages for all students are limited to plain water (carbonated or uncarbonated), low-fat milk (unflavored) and nonfat milk (including flavored), nutritionally equivalent milk alternatives (as permitted by the school meal requirements), and full strength fruit or vegetable juices and full strength fruit and vegetable juice diluted with water or carbonated water. With the exception of water, which has no portion limit, beverages are limited to 8 fluid ounces for elementary schools, and 12 fluid ounces for middle and high schools. With the exception of trace naturally occurring caffeine, beverages must be caffeine-free for elementary and middle schools.

For high schools:

  • Calorie free beverages are allowed in up to 20oz containers (less than five calories per 8 ounce serving or less than or equal to 10 calories per 20 fluid ounces)
  • For lower calories drinks, up to 40 calories per 8 ounces will be accepted while 60 calories per 12 ounces will also be accepted
  • Caffeine is permitted in beverages

Please note, these rules do not apply to foods brought from home as bagged lunches or for birthday parties, off campus fundraisers, athletic events and school plays or foods sold during non-school hours.