What Is A Smart Snack?

Did anyone else wake up this morning and wonder how in the world it was already August? I know I personally say it every year, but boy did the summer fly! How are we already watching back-to-school ads and getting our shopping lists together? 

Maybe some of you have already completed your back-to-school shopping, but for all of you last-minute folks, let me help you out. One of the biggest pain points for parents is preparing for a full week of lunches again—and making sure they’re nutritious! One way to guarantee you're making the right choices as you navigate the grocery aisles is to check if the products you are buying are Smart Snack approved. 

What is a Smart Snack, you ask? Well, keep reading, and I will make sure to inform you of everything you need to know to keep your child well nourished this school year!

Did you know almost a quarter of kids’ daily calories come from snacks? This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to be sending your kids to school with healthy, nutritious snacks that provide them with more than just empty calories. Kids who eat healthier are more likely to perform better academically, and by placing an emphasis on eating Smart Snacks, they can do just that. 

So, back to that question of what constitutes a Smart Snack. A Smart Snack is a snack that meets the following criteria:

  • Must be a grain product that contains 50% or more of whole grains based on weight; OR
  • Must have the first ingredient listed as a whole grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy food, or protein food; OR
  • Must be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; AND
  • The food must meet the nutrient standards for calories, sodium, fats, and sugars:
    • Calories: 200 or less
    • Sodium: 200 mg or less
    • Fat: 35% of calories or less
      • Saturated fat: Less than 10% of calories 
      • Trans fat: 0g
    • Sugars: 35% by weight or less

Oftentimes schools are already incorporating Smart Snacks into their standard school protocol. In fact, Smart Snacks are a Federal requirement for all foods sold outside the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Any food and beverage sold to students via vending machines, snack bars, or the cafeteria (à la carte items) during the school day are required to meet the Smart Snacks standards. You can actually find Whoa Dough in many schools to date, being sold not only within the lunch programs, but as an à la carte item as well. Did we mention five of our seven flavors are Smart Snack-approved?

Now that you know what to look for to ensure your child is getting the nutrition they need, it is time to go grocery shopping for your back to school snacks! While we highly recommend you stock up on some Whoa Dough, we understand if you want some additional ideas.

Here is a list of some popular Smart Snack approved products by brand favorites to get you started:

  • PepsiCo Foods:
    • Baked! Cheetos (Crunchy, Flamin’ Hot)
    • Cheetos Fantastix! (Chili Cheese, Flamin Hot)
    • Baked! Lays (Original, BBQ, Sour Cream and Onion)
    • Doritos (Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, Spicy Sweet Chili)
    • Tostitos (Crispy Rounds)
    • Chewy 90 Calorie Granola Bars 
  • Popchips
    • Sea Salt Potato
    • Barbeque Potato
    • Sour cream & Onion Potato
    • Sea salt & Vinegar Potato
    • Cheddar & Sour Cream Potato
    • Ranch Tortilla
    • Nacho Cheese Tortilla
  • Kellogs
    • Nutri Grain Muffin Bar (Banana, Blueberry)
    • Rice Krispies Treats made with Whole Grain
    • Pop-tarts WG (frosted cinnamon, frosted strawberry)
  • General Mills
    • Chex Mix
    • Nature Valley Granola Bars
    • Pillsbury Mini Muffins
  • Mondelez
    • Honey Maid Teddy Grahams 
    • Belvita Soft Baked (Mixed Berry, Banana Bread, Oats & Chocolate)
  • Keebler
    • Honey Grahams
    • Scooby Doo Grahams
  • Cheez-its
    • Cheez it Crackers 9g Whole Grain Atomic Cheddar
    • Cheez it Crackers 9g Whole Grain
  • Fruit Snacks
    • Welchs
    • Dole
    • Mott’s
  • YoPlait
    • Simply Go-Gurt (Strawberry Lowfat Yogurt)
    • Light Yogurt Blueberry Patch & Very vanilla
    • Trix Low Fat Yogurt

Additionally, if you are curious as to whether a snack you buy for your child is Smart Snack approved, you can always enter the information from the products’ nutrition facts panel into the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Smart Snacks Product Calculator

What are some of your go-to healthy and nutritious snacks to pack for your kiddos? We could always use some more ideas! Leave us some in the comments below.

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