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Meeting Smart Snacks Standards with Pudding
When it comes to school nutrition, serving just any snack won’t do. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) doesn’t approve specific foods or beverages, it does provide parameters to help schools select compliant menu items.
Using the USDA FNS’ “A Guide to Smart Snacks in School” as a resource, let’s take a closer look at these guidelines.
WHAT ARE SMART SNACKS STANDARDS?
Smart Snacks Standards are a federal requirement for all foods sold outside the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
WHAT FOODS NEED TO MEET THE SMART SNACKS STANDARDS?
Any food and beverage sold to students at schools during the school day (the midnight before through 30 minutes after the end of the school day) — other than those foods provided as part of the school meal programs. This includes à la carte items sold in the cafeteria and foods sold in school stores, snack bars, and vending machines.
It also includes foods and beverages sold during fundraisers, unless these items are not intended for consumption at school or are otherwise exempt by your State agency.
WHAT ARE THE SMART SNACKS REQUIREMENTS?
The snack needs to achieve at least one of the following:
- Be a grain product that contains 50 percent or more whole grains by weight (have a whole grain as the first ingredient)
- Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable
- The first ingredient must be a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein food
The snack must also meet these nutrition requirements:
- Calories: 200 calories or less
- Sodium: 200 mg or less
- Total Fat: 35% of calories or less
- Saturated Fat: Less than 10% of calories
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Sugar: 35% by weight or less
WHY ARE SMART SNACKS IMPORTANT?
According to the USDA FNS:
- More than a quarter of kids’ daily calories may come from snacks.
- Kids who have healthy eating patterns are more likely to perform better academically.
- Kids consume more healthy foods and beverages during the school day. When there are Smart Snacks available, the healthy choice is the easy choice.
Adhering to these guidelines doesn’t mean your choices are limited. In fact, there may be options that wouldn’t have crossed your mind — such as pudding.
With nonfat milk as the first ingredient, AFP advanced food products llc snack puddings provide a perfect, simple and health-smart sweet snack.
All our puddings are aseptically packaged, requiring no refrigeration and extending shelf life for 12 to 18 months. Gluten free, trans fat free and kosher, each pudding is specially formulated for quality and value.
In additional to ready-to-serve individual pudding cups, here are just a few ideas on how to use AFP pudding as an ingredient to offer students something new and exciting*:
- Create a sweet vanilla pudding dip to complement strawberries, pineapple or grapes
- Pair trending seasonal flavors to create a tasty snack, such as pumpkin pie pudding by combining vanilla pudding and canned pumpkin and topping it with cinnamon and a graham cracker sprinkle
- Use banana pudding as a base for a tropical fruit smoothie
Looking for more insights around pudding? Check out our Talking Trends: Pudding infographic.
*Please note when AFP Pudding is used as an ingredient, there is no guarantee that the final recipe will necessarily meet all Smart Snack Guidelines.
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