Healthier nutrition guidelines mean new snacks for new school year

VIDEO: Healthier nutrition guidelines mean new snacks for new school year

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The first day of school is just around the corner.

As parents and students get ready for that big day, they should expect to see some changes, especially inside the vending machines.

It's called the "Smart Snacks in Schools" nutrition program. Translated, it means fewer biscuits, cookies and bake sales.

It's all part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

"The snacks are still going to be provided. But, they're going to be healthier snacks," said dietician Ellen Munson.

Munson works for MUSC's Boeing Center for Children's Wellness. That programs supports healthier lifestyles around the state, including Dorchester school districts, Berkeley County School district, Colleton County school district and Charleston County school district.

She says this new mandate, that took effect July 1st, is step in the right direction.

"It's very important that they start early in life and are meeting their needs for fruits, vegetables, whole grains," said Munson.

Some of the guidelines include a 200 calorie limit on snacks, sugar limits and sodium limits restrictions.

"We're just trying to make sure children are properly fed," said Munson. "Obesity is a problem in children in SC, in charleston and all over the United States right now."

According to the SC department of health and environmental control, 30.7% of high school were overweight or obese in 2013. That number has increased from previous years.

"It's sad for me to think children are obese because a lot of times it can be helped if we feed them properly," said Munson.

Through the smart snacks in schools, Munson says students will be taking a step toward a healthier lifestyle, one bite at a time.

30 minutes after the school day is over, the schools cannot regulate what snacks are sold.

Some of the other guidelines include:

Calorie limits:

•Snacks must contain less than or equal to 200 calories

Sugar limits

• A la carte entrees must contain less than or equal to 350 calories

• Snacks must contain less than or equal to 35% sugar by weight

Sodium limits

• Snacks must contain less than or equal to 230 mg of sodium

• A la carte entrees must contain equal or less than 480 mg

Fat limits:

• Total fat must be less than or equal to 35% of calories

• Saturated fat must be less than or equal to 10% of calories

• There must be no trans fat in the package as served

There are exemptions for nuts & seeds, nut & seed butters, seafood and part-skim mozzarella cheese

Beverage limits:

• Allowable beverages for all students are limited to plain water (carbonated or uncarbonated), lowfat milk (unflavored) and nonfat milk (including flavored), nutritionally equivalent milk alternatives (as permitted by the school meal requirements), and full strength fruit or vegetable juices and full strength fruit and vegetable juice diluted with water or carbonated water.

Beverage portion limits are as follows:

• 8 fluid ounces for elementary schools

• 12 fluid ounces for middle schools and high schools.With the exception of trace naturally occurring caffeine, beverages must be caffeine-free for elementary and middle schools.

For high schools:

• Calorie-free beverages are allowed in up to 20-oz containers (less than five calories per 8 ounce serving or less than or equal to 10 calories per 20 fluid ounces)

• Lower calorie drinks are accepted with up to 40 calories per 8 ounces or 60 calories per 12 ounces.

• Caffeine is permitted in beverages


For more information on the new guidelines click

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