Smart Snacks Guidelines

Smart Snacks in School

What Does This Mean For Our Schools?

The Smart Snacks in School standards stipulate that all snack foods sold in school must be “whole grain rich,” meaning they contain 50% whole grains or have whole grains as the first ingredient, or have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein-rich food.

USDA "Smart Snacks in School” Standards & Rules

Calorie limits

  • Snacks must contain less than or equal to 200 calories

Sugar limits

  • Snacks must contain less than or equal to 35% sugar by weight

Sodium limits

  • Snacks must contain less than or equal to 230mg of sodium until July 1, 2016; thereafter, snacks must contain less than or equal to 200mg sodium

Fat limits

  • Total fat must be less than or equal to 35% of calories
  • Saturated fat must be less than or equal to 10% of calories
  • There must be no trans-fat in the package as served

Beverage Limits Differ Based on Grade Level

Allowable beverages for all students are limited to plain water (carbonated or uncarbonated), low-fat milk (unflavored) and nonfat milk (including flavored), nutritionally equivalent milk alternatives (as permitted by the school meal requirements), and full strength fruit or vegetable juices and full strength fruit and vegetable juice diluted with water or carbonated water.

Beverage portion limits are as follows:

  • 8 fluid ounces for elementary schools
  • 12 fluid ounces for middle schools and high schools.
  • With the exception of trace naturally occurring caffeine, beverages must be caffeine-free for elementary and middle schools.

For high schools

  • Calorie-free beverages are allowed in up to 20-oz containers (less than five calories per 8 ounce serving or less than or equal to 10 calories per 20 fluid ounces)
  • Lower calorie drinks are accepted with up to 40 calories per 8 ounces or 60 calories per 12 ounces.
  • Caffeine is permitted in beverages

How Does this Impact Our Schools?

  • School Stores
  • School Fundraisers: A fundraiser is considered an activity in which currency/tokens/tickets, etc. are exchanged for the sale/purchase of a product in support of the school or school-related activities.

Fundraiser exceptions

All fundraisers MUST comply with the "Smart Snacks in Schools" Guidelines and meet these nutritional standards, with the following exceptions:

  • Elementary and Middle Schools: Can "break the rule" 5 times in one school year
  • High School: Can "break the rule" 10 times in one school year
  • The fundraiser exception can ONLY be one week in duration.The exception can NOT occur in food service areas during meal times.
  • Schools must ensure that the number of exempt fundraisers is not exceeded.

PDE reviews and evaluates school compliance.

For "Smart Snacks in School" Are Now in Effect, click here.

For "Smart Snacks in School" Q&A, click here.

For "Smart Snacks in School" School Guidelines, click here.