With the implementation of USDA’s Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, many schools are finding some favorite snack foods challenging to serve. Here are some options that demonstrate ways to serve challenging foods and beverages while still meeting nutrition rules.
Eggs are naturally high in fat. In fact, of the calories in an egg, about 60 percent of them are from fat. In order to meet Smart Snacks requirements, items must contain ≤ 35% calories from fat, meaning that eggs can be difficult to menu. But, don’t fear! There are still some ways you can serve them à la carte:
Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, are only allowed in high schools, regardless of whether the beverage is brewed in a pot or dispensed from a hot beverage machine. To meet Smart Snacks standards, drinks must stay within calorie and portion-size restrictions:
Smoothies may be sold as a food or beverage, depending on the ingredients used to make the smoothie.
When the smoothie contains only approved beverages (100% juice, fat-free or low-fat milk, water, or ice) it would automatically meet standards, but it must stay within portion requirements—up to 8 fl. oz. for elementary schools, and up to 12 fl. oz. for middle schools and high schools.
If the smoothie contains added sweeteners or other ingredients, it must meet the “lower-calorie” beverage standards (≤ 40 calories per 8 fl. oz. or ≤ 60 calories per 12 fl. oz.) and can only be served in high schools.
If the smoothie contains one of the main food group categories as the first ingredient, and meets the specific nutrient standards, it can count as a food.
If a smoothie is served as a breakfast entrée in the School Breakfast Program, it is exempt from Smart Snacks standards and may be sold à la carte the day of and day after service.
Peanut butter and cheese are naturally high in fat, however they are exempt from fat limits when sold alone. When combined with other items (bread, crackers, fruit, or vegetables) they would have to meet additional standards.