Smart Snacks in Schools

Healthy school snacks© The Pew Charitable Trusts

Offering fruit a la carte—such as the oranges, kiwis, bananas, and apples pictured above—helps to ensure that healthy options are available for the 4 in 10 kids who buy or eat a snack at school.

In the 2014-15 school year, schools nationwide implemented “Smart Snacks in Schools” guidelines, which are nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold to students on campus during the school day. These guidelines complement school meal improvements already underway and will ensure that children have healthy choices in vending machines, school stores, and a la carte lines. Nutritious snacks are better for student health and can help schools increase their food service revenue.

Browse the resources below to learn more about the standards for school snacks and how they can improve kids’ health.

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Healthy School Snacks Promote Student Nutrition

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Healthy School Snacks Promote Student Nutrition

Schools that offer healthy snack options have seen a decrease in the amount of fat, sugar, and calories that students consume.

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USDA Issues Final Rules Supporting Healthy School Snacks and Wellness Policies

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture released two final rules July 21 that mean schools must continue to meet strong nutrition guidelines for snacks sold to kids and also will prevent marketing of foods and drinks inconsistent with those standards.

State Snack Food Policies
State Snack Food Policies
Fact Sheet

State and National School Snack Policies

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Fact Sheet

Half of secondary school students consume at least one snack food a day at school.  Yet vending machines and snack bars in many schools have historically offered an abundance of candy, sugar-filled drinks, and other low-nutrient, high-calorie items rather than healthy snacks. Currently, 43 states have policies determining the types of snacks that schools may sell to students. However, these policies vary widely in content and strength; seven of these states, for example, have only suggested guidelines. 

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State Snack Food Policies
State Snack Food Policies
Fact Sheet

State and National School Snack Policies

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Fact Sheet

Half of secondary school students consume at least one snack food a day at school.  Yet vending machines and snack bars in many schools have historically offered an abundance of candy, sugar-filled drinks, and other low-nutrient, high-calorie items rather than healthy snacks. Currently, 43 states have policies determining the types of snacks that schools may sell to students. However, these policies vary widely in content and strength; seven of these states, for example, have only suggested guidelines. 

28%

The median percentage of secondary schools in each state that allowed students to purchase fruits as snacks in 2010.

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