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Navigating the Rollout of the “Smart Snacks in Schools” Standards

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

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Implementing stronger nutrition standards for meals served as part of school breakfast and lunch programs is a great way to make a positive impact on children’s diets and their weight. But what about all those snacks that students consume in between meals?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards aims to address that gap. On July 1 this year, the Smart Snacks in Schools standards officially went into effect, governing the nutritional quality of foods and beverages sold during the school day in school vending machines, stores, snack cards and a la carte lines, as well as through school fundraising efforts.

To meet the Smart Snacks in Schools nutritional standards, the snack must be a fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy, or whole grain; have fewer than 200 calories; and be low in fat, sodium, and sugar.

Early indications are that the Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines are being met with great support, with more than 80 percent of American voters favoring the standards. It’s clear that a majority of parents, school leaders, food and nutrition services directors, and child health advocates see these nutrition standards as key to addressing and reversing the childhood obesity trend in our country.

How can school leaders and food and nutrition services directors meet these new standards? And what should parents know to help advocate for and ensure that such standards are here to stay?

A recent #FoodFri tweetchat hosted by Mom’s Rising (@MomsRising) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (@CSPI) offered some great resources and information that we felt should be highlighted again:

Here’s hoping that this school year is the best year YET for encouraging healthy eating during the school day!

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