Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards


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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Smart Snacks nutrition standards apply to all competitive foods sold on school campus during the school day in public schools, private schools, and residential child care institutions (RCCIs) that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).

  • Competitive foods are all foods and beverages available for sale to students on the school campus during the school day, separately from reimbursable meals and snacks in the USDA's Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs). Under Section 10-215b-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, competitive foods also include candy, coffee, tea, and soft drinks given to students on school premises while any CNPs are operating, including during and after the school day. Note: The state beverage statute (C.G.S. Section 10-221q) and competitive foods regulations extend the time restrictions beyond the school day. The state beverage statute applies to all public schools at all times, except for sales that meet specific exemption criteria. The state competitive foods regulations apply to all public schools, private schools, and RCCIs whenever CNPs are operating, including during and after the school day.
  • The school campus is all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the school that are accessible to students during the school day.
  • The school day is the period from midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day.

For public schools, the Smarts Snacks nutrition standards for foods apply only to districts that do not choose the healthy food option of Healthy Food Certification (HFC) under C.G.S. Section 10-215f of the Connecticut General Statutes. Connecticut HFC districts must comply with the stricter Connecticut Nutrition Standards (CNS). For more information, visit the CSDE's CNS and HFC webpages. For information on the differences between the USDA and Connecticut requirements, refer to the CSDE's Comparison of the Connecticut Nutrition Standards and the USDA's Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards.

Overview of Smart Snacks Requirements

The three Smart Snacks categories include: 1) entrees sold only a la carte; 2) snacks and side dishes; and 3) beverages. To comply with Smart Snacks, foods must meet at least one general standard and the serving with its accompaniments (such as butter, cream cheese, salad dressing, and condiments) must meet the specific nutrient standards for the applicable food category. To meet one of the three general standards: 1) the food must be whole grain-rich (WGR); or 2) a food group must be the first ingredient, i.e., fruits, vegetables, dairy, or protein foods; or 3) the food must be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable per serving. The nutrient standards include limits for calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and sugars. 

Beverages must meet the category requirements and portion size limits. Note: All Connecticut public schools (HFC and non-HFC) must also comply with the stricter provisions of the state beverage statute (C.G.S. Section 10-221q). 

 Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards