servings because, in the committee’s judgment, a whole serving of fruit, vegetable, or whole grain per portion would contribute to the goal of helping school-age children meet DGA recommendations in a portion size that food manufacturers can achieve in formulating new products.


Standard 4: Snack items meet a sodium content limit of 200 mg or less per portion as packaged or 480 mg or less per entrée portion as served for à la carte.


Although sodium is an essential mineral, it is widely overconsumed. Research evidence in adult human subjects strongly supports an association between salt intake and increased blood pressure, although similar associations in children and adolescents are not as well-documented.

The exception to this recommendation for entrée items purchased à la carte reflects the fact that they generally represent greater portion sizes than the recommended calorie limit for snacks would allow; these entrée items are components of meals that meet USDA school meal nutrition standards and the FDA maximum sodium levels allowed for foods labeled as “healthy.” Their inclusion allows greater flexibility for students with greater energy needs.

Nonnutritive Sweeteners

Standard 5: Beverages containing nonnutritive sweeteners are only allowed in high schools after the end of the school day.

Factors Considered for Use of Nonnutritive Sweeteners

In consideration of nonnutritive sweeteners in competitive foods and beverages for school-age children, four related topics were evaluated: safety of nonnutritive sweeteners in children; displacement effect of intake of foods and beverages with nonnutritive sweeteners on intake of other foods and beverages to be encouraged (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat dairy products); efficacy of intake of foods and beverages containing nonnutritive sweeteners to contribute to maintaining a healthy weight in children; and the role of choice and necessity in the use of nonnutritive sweeteners in beverages and foods.

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