Information for Parents

Nutrition Standards for Competitive Food and Beverages in Public Schools – Snacks

We are focused on the health of our school environment. Our school district has established nutrition standards for all snacks sold in school by any entity, including parent/student organizations, teachers, boosters, fundraisers, or the food and nutrition services department. These standards for snack sales are in effect from any time before school through 1/2 hour after school, in accordance with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the USDA and our district Wellness Policy. Non-compliant foods may be sold from 1/2 hour after school through the end of the day. These standards carefully balance science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating on campus. Below is a ‘snap shot’ of the Massachusetts and Smart Snacks’ standards involving fats and sugar. To learn more visit the the School Nutrition Standards section of the Mass.Gov – Health and Human Services website.

Nutrition Standards for Foods

Any food sold in school must:

  • Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
  • Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein food; or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable

Foods must also meet several nutrient requirements:

Calorie limits

  • Snack items: ≤ 200 calories
  • Entrée items: ≤ 350 calories

Sodium limits

  • Snack items: ≤ 200 mg
  • Entrée items: ≤ 480 mg

Fat limits

  • Total fat: ≤ 35% of calories
  • Saturated fat: < 10% of calories for saturated fat
  • Trans fat: zero grams

Sugar limit ≤ 35% of weight from total sugars in foods


Accompaniments such as cream cheese, salad dressing and butter must be included in the nutrient profile as part of the food item sold. This helps control the amount of calories, fat, sugar and sodium added to foods.

Nutrient Standards for Beverages

All schools may sell:

  • Plain water (with or without carbonation)
  • Unflavored low fat milk
  • Unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives permitted by NSLP/SBP
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice, and 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water (with or without carbonation) and no added sweeteners

Portion size limits for all schools and grade levels may sell up to 8-ounce portions. There is no portion size limit for plain water.

Massachusetts does not allow any other ‘no calorie’ or ‘lower calorie’ beverage options for high school students.

  • No more than 12-ounce portions of beverage with ≤ 40 calories per 8 fluid ounces, or ≤ 60 calories per 12 fluid ounces. Healthy Fundraisers
  • Food items that meet nutrition standards are not limited
  • The standards do not apply during non-school hours, on weekends and at off-campus fundraising events
  • The standards provide a special exemption for infrequent fundraisers that do not meet the nutrition standards. Each State agency is responsible for establishing the number of exempt fundraisers that may be held in schools each year.

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