In 2005, California passed Senate Bill (SB) 12, which sets nutrition standards for food sold in schools, and SB 965, which sets nutrition standards for beverages (outside of the food served through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs). As a result of SB 638 (California Education Code 8482.3(d)), all snacks served in ASES programs must meet the nutrition standards outlined in these two bills.
SB 12 allows any non-fried fruits or vegetables; seeds, like sunflower seeds; nuts; nut butter, like peanut butter; eggs; and individually packed cheese like string cheese to be served as a snack without meeting additional nutrition standards. For other snacks, there are nutrition requirements for calories, fat, saturated fat, and sugar. California Project Lean has developed an on-line tool to determine whether or not a snack meets the nutrition requirements. www.californiaprojectlean.org/calculator
SB 965 outlines standards for beverages. Only 2 percent, 1 percent, and nonfat milk can be served; some other beverages are allowable drinks (only milk and 100 percent juice meet the nutrition requirements for the federal child nutrition programs). For additional information on the requirements, review the Center for Public Health Advocacys fact sheets on the two bills. www.publichealthadvocacy.org/2005tracking.html
In addition to the nutrition requirements set by SB 12 and SB 965, ASES grantees that participate in the child nutrition programs must meet the federal nutrition guidelines. They are based upon four components: milk, fruits and vegetables (including 100 percent juice), grains, and protein.
- A snack must include two of the four components and can be as simple as milk and grapes.
- A lunch or supper must include all four components plus a second serving of fruits and vegetables. A turkey sandwich served with carrot sticks, grapes, and milk would meet the requirement. (The meals may look slightly different if the food service department prepares them; schools are allowed to develop menus using more complex menu planning techniques, rather than basing them solely on food components.)
In order to maximize the nutrition quality of the snacks and meals provided in ASES programs, FRAC recommends that programs serve fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat milk, that water is always offered, and that juice is served infrequently if at all.
A snack that meets the nutrition standards of SB 12 should meet the nutrition requirements for the child nutrition programs. But in order for the snack to be reimbursable it must include enough components. Or in other words, an apple would meet the nutrition requirements of SB 12, but, in order for it to meet the child nutrition program requirements, another component like peanut butter or low-fat milk must be served.
The California Department of Education's After School Programs Office, which oversees the ASES program, and its Nutrition Services Division, which administers the federal after school and summer nutrition programs, can provide further guidance on developing healthy menus that meet the nutrition requirements.