Since 2014-2015, all foods and beverages sold to students during the school day will need to meet nutrition standards. This would include vending machines, school stores, snack carts, a la carte lines, and fundraisers. These standards are set by USDA and are required.
But it’s Just a Cupcake…Changes in Classroom Celebrations (NEW!)
Foods for school celebrations often include unhealthy choices such as cupcakes, candy, cookies and soda. While there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, unhealthy foods are often the norm rather than the exception. Parties, food rewards, food fundraisers, and school stores often include foods that are low in nutrients and high in fat, added sugars and sodium. Birthday parties and/or classroom celebration food items must meet USDA Smart Snack Standards and be prepared in a commercial kitchen. Our School Board’s Wellness Policy and Procedure 8510 was recently updated to comply with USDA Local School Wellness Policy requirements. Celebration foods are available to parents to purchase for their child’s class through their school cafeteria. Pasco Smart Snack Celebrations. These foods are already Smart Snack approved for ease of access and can be delivered directly to your child’s classroom. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation Smart Food Planner provides a link to Smart Snack compliant products available through Amazon as well as a calculator to check your food labels for compliance. We strongly encourage the use of non-food items for celebrations such as pencils, erasers, stickers, crafts, gardening time, and classroom dance parties to name a few.
Food & Nutrition Services believes that healthy snacks can enhance the regular school lunch and breakfast program, but should not be consumed as a replacement for a nutritious lunch or breakfast. Therefore, the portion sizes and nutritional quality of the snacks and beverages available follow the guidelines of 35-10-35, which recommends that snack and beverage choices provide less than 35% calories from fat, less than 10% calories from saturated fat, and no more than 35% sugar by weight. Calories per serving are limited by grade level.
Nutritious snack choices are available to elementary, middle, and high school students at meal services times. However, schools can choose to further limit the number and choices available daily. Snacks are considered an additional cost and are not part of the regular school lunch or breakfast; therefore, students must have cash or money on their meal account to purchase snacks. Nutrient information is available on all snack items sold in Pasco County Schools.
Foods sold must also meet several nutrient requirements:
Snacks meet what is often referred to as “35-10-35”. These numbers refer to the following:
No more than 35% of calories from total fat
No more than 10% of calories from saturated fat
No more than 35% sugar by weight
Calories per snack portion size are limited, based on grade levels.
150 calories or less for elementary schools
180 calories or less for middle schools
200 calories or less for high schools
Contain no more than 230 milligrams of sodium per snack portion.
Contain zero Trans fat.
Nutrition Standards for Beverages:
• Plain water (with or without carbonation), no portion limit
• Unflavored low fat milk
• Unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives (e.g. soy milk, lactose-free milk)
• 100% fruit or vegetable juice and
• 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water (with or without carbonation), and no added sweeteners.
Elementary schools may sell up to 8-ounce portions, middle/high schools up to 12-ounces of milk and juice.