The Smart Snacks in School standards went into effect on July 1, 2014 in an effort to improve the nutritional quality of snack foods and beverages sold outside of the school meals programs. As a result, school districts across the country are replacing snack and beverage items with healthier fare. To help address this change, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation has developed several valuable tools and resources to assist schools with Smart Snacks implementation.
Smart Snacks Product Calculator
The Alliance’s Product Calculator provides a quick, easy way for districts to determine if foods and beverages meet the standards without requiring any math! To determine if a product meets the Smart Snacks standards, just answer a few questions about the product, including information from the Nutrition Facts Panel. Information must be entered for the product as it is sold. For example, nutrient information for a hamburger sold with several condiments must be entered as the hamburger patty plus the bun plus the condiments, as opposed to just the hamburger. For more information on how to answer a particular question in the calculator, place the mouse over the blue information icon.
Alliance Product Navigator
For districts looking for compliant food and beverages to sell in their schools, the navigator is a great place to start! The Alliance’s Product Navigator allows schools to browse foods and beverages that have already been determined to meet the Smart Snacks standards. The products included in the navigator were identified as compliant based on the product’s ingredient statement and Nutrition Facts Panel at a specific point in time. Since product formulations often change, it is always important to check labels to ensure the food and beverages being sold are compliant.
Smart Snacks Resource
The Smart Snacks Resource includes nine-steps for making Smart Snacks implementation a success. Each step includes several resources and strategies to assist school districts with Smart Snacks implementation.
Swap Your Snack
Swap Your Snack provides ideas and resources for healthy fundraising, vending and celebrations, as well as success stories and many other ways to swap snacks in your district for healthier choices.
These fundraising resources provide innovative ways for schools to raise revenue while reinforcing healthy eating and physical activity habits. The resources include alternative fundraising ideas, presentations for the school community, Show Me the Money: A Guide to Selling Healthy Foods at School and information to help develop fundraising partnerships within districts and schools.
Healthy Schools Program
The Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program is an evidence-based initiative to help school districts create and sustain healthy environments where students can learn and flourish. This program uses the Center for Disease Control’s School Health Index to help schools assess the strengths and weaknesses of their policies and programs for promoting wellness. Schools will develop an action plan for improving their school health environment and may be eligible to receive a National Healthy Schools Award for their achievements.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s resources can assist schools in successfully implementing the Smart Snacks in School standards and consequently create healthier school environments nationwide.
Amanda Mercer, MS, RD, Colorado Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition