Nutrition Standards for Foods

CALIFORNIA COMPETITIVE FOOD STANDARDS COMPLIANCE CALCULATOR

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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; or
  • Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber)

Foods must also meet several nutrient requirements:

Calorie limits

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

Sodium limits

  • Snack items: ≤ 230 mg
  • Entrée items: ≤ 480 mg

Fat limits

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

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

Accompaniments

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

Elementary schools may sell up to 8-ounce portions, while middle and high schools may sell up to 12-ounce portions of milk and juice. There is no portion size limit for plain water.

Beyond this, the standards allow additional “no calorie” and “lower calorie” beverage options for high school students.

  • 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.
  • 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.