Smart Snacks

What are Smart Snacks in School?

Smart Snacks in Schoolexternal icon refers to the national nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold outside of the federal reimbursable school meal programs during the school day. These items are called “competitive foods” because they can compete with participation in school meal programs.

As of the 2014–2015 school year, all competitive foods and beverages sold during the school day must meet or exceed Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, which include limits on fat, sugar, sodium, and calorie content. These standards are the minimum requirement for schools, but states and local education agencies can continue to implement stronger nutrition standards for all competitive foods in schools.

Successfully Implementing Strong Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages: Case Studies of School Districts

To illustrate how schools and districts can implement strong nutrition standards for competitive foods without significant financial losses, CDC supported a study by the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) and the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) to examine eight school districts across the country. IPHI published findings and case studies in the report Controlling Junk Food and the Bottom Line: Case Studies of Schools Successfully Implementing Strong Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beveragesexternal icon. Schools can use this resource to find examples of successful strategies used to overcome challenges and support strong nutrition standards in schools.

IPHI and CDC partnered to release five tip sheetsexternal icon that highlight key findings from the study and share strategies from districts that have successfully implemented healthier competitive foods standards, sold more fruits and vegetables, taught nutrition to students, and made cafeterias more enticing for students.