Competitive Foods and Beverages (Smart Snacks)
SMART SNACKS IN SCHOOLS
School meals are continuing to improve and students across the country, including those at Hemet Unified, are now offered healthier school meals that emphasize nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As of July 1, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Smart Snacks in School (SSIS) rule became effective and allowed schools to offer healthier snacks and beverages for students to further promote healthy eating on campus.
Smart Snacks is often referred to as competitive foods and beverages because they are sold in competition with the school meal programs. Competitive foods are defined as "all foods and beverages sold to students on school campus during the school day that are not part of the reimbursable program." This includes items sold in vending machines, snack bars, kiosks, school stores, a la carte lines, and fundraising sales.
CALIFORNIA NUTRITION STANDARDS
In California, the Federal rules must be combined with existing California legislation to create what is known as the California Nutrition Standards. These standards apply to all foods and beverages sold in schools. As of July 1, 2016, there were changes made to the competitive food requirements pertaining to the general nutrition standards and sodium restrictions. Nutrition Services is currently in the process of revising the board-approved Smart Snacks list to reflect these changes.
If there is a product that you would like to sell & want to know if it is compliant, please refer to the California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) Competitive Food and Beverage Compliance Calculator. This calculator allows you to enter in the product information to find out whether it is compliant for sale in elementary, middle, or high schools in the state of California.
Once you have determined the food or beverage item is compliant and want to sell it at your school, please submit a Food & Beverage Review Request to obtain approval. Within 2 weeks of receipt of the request, Nutrition Services will notify the requestor in writing regarding the approval or denial. Please attach a nutrition label/statement for the product with the request.
WHY ARE SMART SNACKS NUTRITION STANDARDS IMPORTANT?
Nearly one third of kids in America are at risk for chronic diseases that are preventable, such as diabetes and heart disease, due to being overweight or obese. If left unaddressed, health experts say that this generation may be the first to live shorter lives than their parents. A healthy, well-balanced diet plays an important role in the prevention of these diseases; therefore, it is critical for all students to have access to healthy school meals full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, based on scientific recommendations for nutrition. With many students consuming at least one snack food during the school day, it is also important that items offered a la carte and in vending machines fit within nutritional guidelines to help reinforce the message of an overall healthy diet.
For questions or more information regarding Smart Snacks, please contact our Nutrition Specialist, Stefanie Johnson, MPH, RDN at 951-765-5100 ext. 5350.