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Smart Snacks loom as Seamless Summer ends for Henry County Schools

Walnut Creek Elementary hosted Henry County Schools (HCS) seventh annual United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Seamless Summer Feeding Program. This USDA program makes it possible for schools to provide nutritious meals, after the regular school year ends for students and Families who qualify for the Free or Reduced lunch Program web.

Seamless Summer lunch meal

Both Breakfast and Lunch were available Monday thru Thursday. Meals were provided at no cost to students Ages 18 and Younger. Adult meals were $1.25 for Breakfast and $2.50 for Lunch.

Kantrell Brown, Assistant Director of School Nutrition for Henry County Schools answered the following questions.

Q: What is the projected daily average head count?

A: “About 80-90 students per day. During the first week we also provided about 250-275 meals per day at a participating Vacation Bible School.”

Q: What is the projected total number of patrons to be served this summer?

A: “About 4500 meals (breakfast and lunch).”

Q: What was the Headcount for last year?

A: “Last year we served about 2,100 breakfast meals to students and about 2,300 lunch meals to students.”

Q: Approximately how many students qualify for the program?

A: “The program is open to any child up to age 18.”

An investigation into the number of students qualified for the Free and Reduced Price school meals program, for the 2013-2014 school year reveled:

  • 52.05 percent of the districts 40,720 member student body qualified
  • 17,629 students qualified for a free meals, and
  • 3,565 qualified for reduced cost meals.

A list of twenty-one Henry County Schools where sixty percent or more, of the student body qualified for, free or reduced lunch during the 2013-2014 school year:

  • Austin Road Elementary, 63.07 %
  • Red Oak Elementary, 63.30 %
  • Austin Road Middle, 63.86 %
  • Hampton Middle, 64.87 %
  • Eagle's Landing Middle, 65.54 %
  • Patrick Henry High, 65.58 %
  • Tussahaw Elementary, 67.96 %
  • Cotton Indian Elementary, 68.71 %
  • Locust Grove Elementary, 68.72 %
  • Fairview Elementary, 69.76 %
  • Walnut Creek Elementary, 69.81 %
  • Henry County High, 74.36 %
  • Hampton Elementary, 74.37 %
  • Stockbridge Middle, 78.07 %
  • Oakland Elementary, 79.18 %
  • Henry County Middle, 79.78 %
  • Smith-Barnes Elementary, 80.61 %
  • Stockbridge Elementary, 80.71 %
  • Wesley Lakes Elementary, 81.25 %
  • McDonough Elementary, 83.17 %

For the 2014-2015 Free and Reduced Meal Income Eligibility Guidelines pdf. Maximum one-person qualifying income for free-meals $15,171, for each additional family member add $5,278. Maximum one-person qualifying income for reduced cost meals $11,670, for each additional family member add $4,060.

Henry County Schools will be looking for additional sites to serve the approximately 21,000 Free and Reduced Meal eligible students during the 2015 summer.

The Smart Snacks in School program changes the type and quality of snack foods eligible to be sold in Henry County Schools, and set limits on the number of food based fundraisers your school can have. Smart Snacks is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which Congress passed back in 2010, setting higher nutritional standards for school lunches.

USDA has provided a short video about Smart Snacks here. Approximately at the 1:38 mark, the video states, “the occasional Bake Sales and parties will not be affected.” However, the Interim Final Rule here changes the game and effects Bake Sales and Competitive Foods sold in schools. If you want to see if your favorite snack meets the new standards, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation has a USDA approved Smart Snacks Product Calculator here.

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDoE) has published a simplified set of Criteria and/or Procedures here.


Competitive foods are not limited to foods sold in: vending machines, snack bars, student stores, a la carte, school activities, fundraisers and other venues on school grounds. All competitive foods and beverages must meet the minimum Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools, as required by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.

Nutrition Standards for Foods sold in schools

All snack foods must be a “whole grain-rich” product; or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy product, or a protein food as the first ingredient; or be a combination food containing a minimum of ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber.*

All entrée items must be:

  • Combination foods must consist of, meat/meat-alternate, and a whole grain rich food; or a vegetable or fruit, and meat/meat-alternate.
  • A meat or meat alternate, exceptions include yogurt, low-fat or reduced fat cheese, nuts, seeds, and nut or seed butters, and meat snacks.
  • Any item offered as part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP), sold the day of service or the day after service is exempt from all nutrient standards.

Snack and entrée foods must meet specific nutrient requirements:

  1. Calorie limits for snacks, ≤ 200 calories, and entrées, ≤ 350 calories.
  2. Sodium limits for snacks and entrée items respectively, ≤ 230 mg**, and ≤ 480 mg.
  3. Fat limits, Total fat is ≤35% of calories, for Saturated fat, < 10% of calories, and Trans fat: zero grams
  4. Sugar is limited to ≤ 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.

Nutrition Standards for Beverages sold in schools

Portions sold are restricted to size, for Elementary schools, ≤ 8-ounces, and for middle and high schools, ≤ 12-ounces. There is no size limit for plain water.

Size restrictions apply to:

  1. Unflavored low fat milk
  2. Unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives permitted by NSLP/SBP
  3. 100% fruit or vegetable juice
  4. 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water, and no added sweeteners.

High schools may also sell “no calorie” and “lower calorie” beverage options. Restrictions include size and calories no more than:

  • 20-ounce portions of Calorie-free, flavored water, with or without carbonation; and other flavored and/or carbonated beverages that are labeled to contain < 5 calories per 8 fluid ounces or ≤ 10 calories per 20 fluid ounces.
  • 12-ounce portions with ≤ 40 calories per 8 fluid ounces, or ≤ 60 calories per 12 fluid ounces.

*On July 1, 2016, foods may not qualify using the 10% DV criteria.

**On July 1, 2016, snack items must contain ≤ 200 mg sodium per item

The good news for fundraisers, the State Board of Education initiated a rule allowing schools to hold 30 fundraisers per school, per school year, that do not meet the nutrition standards established by federal law.

So before rushing to get your next sugar fix, you might want to read, “High Blood Sugar Levels Linked to Brain Decay” here.

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