Sunday, July 28, 2013

Smart Snacks in School > It's about time! #GardenCuizine @USDANutrition @letsmove @kidseatright #smartsnacks

The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Nutrition Standards for all foods sold in school as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has introduced an amendment for Smart Snacks in Schools. What took so long? As they say, "Better late than never." The new ruling doesn't officially begin until next year.  

ATTENTION ADULTS: this is a healthful guide for you too! Start following Smart Snacks suggestions now for more whole grains, more fruits and veggies, and lower sodium and low fat. Remember, as parents, you are role models for your children. Healthful eating begins at home. Here are some highlights of the Smart Snacks ruling: 

  • Must be a grain product that contains 50 percent or more whole grains by weight or have as the first ingredient a whole grain; or
  • Have as the first ingredient one of the non-grain major food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein foods (meat, beans, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.); or
  • Be a combination food that contains ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
  • For the period through June 30, 2016, contain 10 percent of the Daily Value (%DV) of a nutrient of public health concern based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (i.e., calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber). 
Overall, foods supplied to schools (referred to as competitive foods) must contain no more than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat per item as packaged or served. Exemptions to the saturated fat standard are granted for reduced fat cheese and part skim mozzarella cheese, nuts, seeds, nut or seed butters, and products consisting of only dried fruit with nuts and/or seeds with no added nutritive sweeteners or fat. Competitive foods must have zero grams of Trans fat per item as packaged or served. 

Competitive snack foods and beverages must meet the nutrition standards specified in an interim final rule that begins July 1, 2014. There will be a special exemption to the standards allowed for foods and beverages that do not meet competitive food standards for snacks sold for the purpose of conducting an infrequent school sponsored fundraiser, which sounds reasonable.

Sodium content in snacks will be limited to 230mg per item as packaged or served. And, then on July 1, 2016, the sodium standard will drop lower to 200mg per item as packaged or served. Entrée items must have no more than 480mg of sodium per item as packaged or served.

Eating more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner proteins makes sense for a healthy heart, body and lifestyle. And, most of all, encouraging healthier food options will help combat child hunger and obesity to improve the health and nutrition of our nation's children.
Related Links
A Healthier Generation through Smart Snacks in Schools

Q & A amended School Nutrition Standards 

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