How to Plan Smart Snacks Campers Will Love
Posted by: Lauren Marciszyn
Serving up the right snacks can make a difference in how active campers perform and behave for the rest of the day.
Here are three tools to guide your healthy (aka “smart”) snack menu planning process:
1. Adhere to HEPA Standards
The Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards offer guidelines for snacks that will provide the appropriate nutrients without the junk. General rules to follow:
- Serve a fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack
- Serve only water and plain, low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk
- Serve whole grains when grains are served
- Serve foods with trans fats
- Serve snacks that are fried or pre-fried
- Serve products with more than eight grams of added sugar
- Serve products where sugar is one of the first three ingredients
2. Get on the A-List
The John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition provides a 76-page PDF of vending and snack products that meet the USDA’s Smart Snack nutritional standards called the A-List. The guide is regularly updated and lists hundreds of items, their corresponding nutritional facts and relevant distributors. The YMCA recommends double-checking A-list items against HEPA standards.
3. Crunch the Numbers
The Alliance Product Calculator can be used to determine whether an individual product qualifies as a USDA Smart Snack by answering a few questions about the product and plugging in some nutritional facts. This handy tool works for beverages, snacks, sides and entrees.
Although there is no official list of “approved snacks,” the YMCA recommends the following products to get started on your smart snack menu planning:
- “Made with Whole Grain” Goldfish
- Keebler Bug Bites Graham Crackers
- Skeeter Cinnamon Grahams
- “Made with Whole Grain” Teddy Grahams
- Chewy Granola Bars
- Triscuits or 100% Whole Grain Wheat Thins
- Natural Applesauce
- Mixed or Single Fruit Cups in 100% Juice
- Fruit “pouches” with No Added Sugar
- Welch’s 100% Juice Freezer Pops
- Seltzer Without Added Artificial Sweeteners or Sugar
- Unsweetened Ice Tea
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FTC Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored.
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