Beginning this school year, all food sold to students on school grounds during the school day must meet USDA Smart Snacks in School standards. This includes all snacks sold at school, such as soft pretzel sales, and fundraisers like special lunches.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 brought many nutritious enhancements to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, including increased whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Another important aspect of this act is the Smart Snacks in School standards, which evaluates snacks and food-based fundraisers sold to students to ensure consistent messages about healthy eating. As you are planning your 2015-16 school year budgets and special events, we ask that you take these rules into consideration.
The Smart Snacks in School regulations are nutrition standards to allow schools to offer healthier snack foods to children, while limiting foods with low nutritional value.
The Smart Snacks in School standards apply to all foods and beverages sold to students outside of the school meals programs – including vending machines, a la carte, school stores, snack carts and fundraising. Smart Snacks will be in effect for the entire school day across the entire school campus.
Smart Snacks will not apply to foods served at no cost, such as classroom celebrations, and during evening, weekend or community events.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is permitting a maximum of five fundraisers that are exempt from Smart Snacks standards, for a maximum of one school week each, in each elementary and middle school building in the 2014-15 school year. Any remaining food-based fundraisers must meet the Smart Snack guidelines. Fundraisers that do not take place at school are not subject to these standards.
One way for your school to move towards healthier fundraising is to try a fruit sale, like boxes of seasonal citrus fruit or fruit baskets. Non-food fundraisers are another easy way to comply with the new guidelines. Selling school-branded items like water bottles, t-shirts, or tote bags are great ways to show school spirit while also raising money.
Fundraisers can also get your school moving and learning! Registration or sponsorship for a race, walk, or field day can raise money for your school. Academic events like a read-a-thon, where readers can ask donors for pledges, enrich students’ education while also acting as a fundraiser.
By implementing consistent nutrition standards throughout each school building, students will be healthier and ready to learn. In addition to reinforcing messages about nutrition and wellness, healthy fundraising and snack sales will also help you to comply with these new UDSA regulations. We are available to assist you during this transition.
Read more about the Smart Snack Guidelines at: http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/smartsnacks
Try this easy calculator tool to check if your snacks meet the guidelines: http://rdp.healthiergeneration.org/calc/calculator/
Some content adapted from “Best Practices for Healthy School Fundraisers” from USDA.