Is Your School Banning Cheetos? How the New Smart Snacks in School Guidelines May Affect the Classroom Party

BlogHer Original Post

As kids return to school there will be a few more things harder to get than a neat glue stick from the share bin: chips, cookies, and candy.  New snack standards for schools by the government give guidelines to what schools are permitted to sell during school hours, though there is still a lot of wiggle room meant to keep each school autonomous while still ensuring that healthier options are offered in the cafeteria.

chips

Image: Rupert Ganzer via Flickr

How schools apply these new standards to non-cafeteria food such as classroom parties, fundraisers, or after school events is up to each school. Some states are working to ban certain snacks entirely from the school such as Flaming Hot Cheetos.  Others are leaving it in the hands of the principal to decide whether they want to allow parents to supply cupcakes for the Halloween party, or whether they need to keep in-school celebrations non-food related.

It's difficult to feel anger about the new standards as they apply to what is being sold in the cafeteria.  An infographic by the USDA illustrates the change in what is sold, pointing out how the calories consumed in the new options benefit bodies much more than the fare of yesteryear.

infographic

Image: USDA via Flickr

While the new guidelines aren't perfect, and there has been backlash about some of the options that made the cut due to heavy lobbying, few can argue that fruit-flavoured candies trump peanuts in terms of nutritional value.  Water replacing soda and light popcorn replacing donuts can only be a good thing for young bodies on a daily basis.

But what about the classroom parties, field trips, after school activities, and fundraisers?  Should those aspects of school life also be subjected to these new guidelines.  Should kids get infrequent treats in school, or should unhealthy food be kept off school grounds?

Let us know what your school is doing with the new Smart Snacks in School standards, and whether you think these healthy standards should apply beyond what is sold in the cafeteria.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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