Healthy Snacks & Beverages

USDA recently published practical, science-based nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold to children at school during the school day.  As of July 1, 2014, these standards allow schools to offer healthier snack foods to children, while limiting less nutritious foods.

Smart Snacks in Schools

The new USDA Smart Snacks nutrition standards support better health for students and echoes the good work already taking place in schools in RI. Smart Snacks are also know as competitive foods because they "compete" with the nutritious school meals.  Competitive food and beverage items that are sold:

  • on the school campus (vending machines, school stores, a la carte lines, snack bars and sold through fund raisers)
  • during the school day (midnight before, to 1 hour after the end of the official school day)
  • to students

must meet the nutrition standards for competitive foods. In other words, children will be able to buy only foods that their parents would find generally acceptable.More guidance is found on the USDA Smart Snacks webpage.

USDA is now closely aligned with RI Healthier Snacks and Beverages Law, RI Definitions of Healthier Snacks and Beverages, and the RI Nutrition Standards.

RI Specific Smart Snacks / Competitive Foods Guidance

Here is the RI Competitive Foods in Schools  Overview ;  it merges and summarizes the USDA standards with the RI requirements.  This Overview explains to parents, students, school administrators and teachers what the new  competitive food standards are in RI. 

A more in-depth analysis of Competitive Foods in RI has been developed as a tool for food service programs.  It provides more detailed information on complying with the new standards.    

Fund Raising in Schools

School fund raisers are allowed to sell to students food / beverage items  which meet the new competitive foods standards. 

Since 2007, RI General Law has prohibited the sale of non-compliant foods / beverages to students on the school campus during the school day with the following exceptions:

  • school fund raisers may sell non-compliant foods / beverages if the items are sold by pupils of the school AND 
    • the sales of these items takes place off and away from the premises of the school, or
    • the items are not sold during the school day.(midnight before, to 1 hour after the end of the official school day).