To appeal to this generation of “gourmet snackers” and “time-crunched convenience snackers” – as well as boost participation in your child nutrition program – you’ve got to provide them with choices that they would actually enjoy! Of course, you’re still going to offer the healthy and nutritious full meals that you serve in your lines day in and day out. But it’s also a good idea to consider offering snacks for the students to purchase, whether they eat them in the cafeteria or choose to “grab and go”, and eat these snacks later in the day.
In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act updated the standards for what constitutes a “smart snack”, or a snack (that is not considered ‘junk food’) to be served in schools across the United States. Any foods sold in schools must:
- -Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
- -Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; or
- -Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
- -Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber).
We also know that snack items must contain 200 or less calories, and 230 or less mg of sodium to meet the Smart Snack standards. (For a refresher on all-things Smart Snack compliance, please check out this handy flyer.)
It’s important to offer snacks that appeal to this generation and meet all of the standards of smart snack compliance. It’s also important to select snack options that fill them up while also supplying a steady flow of energy to get them through the day. When selecting which types of snacks to offer, consider the following: