Help Your School Aged Shoppers Have Healthier and More Successful Fundraisers

Help Your School Aged Shoppers Have Healthier and More Successful Fundraisers

August 20, 2014

Bake sales are a sure way to fundraise, at least they once were, in a time before food allergies, obesity, and stricter federal nutrition guidelines to name a few – today schools are potentially having to look elsewhere to help fund school related activities as new regulations in several states now put nutrition restrictions on bake sales and fundraisers. 

The restrictions originate from the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and in accordance with the law, the US Department of Agriculture set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day. This affects school lunches, as well as vending machines and snack carts in over 100,000 schools across the country. Additionally, states can extend the guidelines to daytime fundraisers, like bake sales. 

How can retail dietitians guide parents, and students to the best snacks for their fundraisers?  Well, homemade treats might be out of the question.  Because it’s hard to determine the exact nutrition information for the treats baked at home, many schools don’t permit homemade goods. Food allergies are also an issue, and keeping homemade treats out of schools helps control this factor.

According to the rules, what is allowed and not allowed in snacks?

Limits have been set on: Sugar (less than or equal to 35% sugar by weight, excluding dried fruit), calories (less than 200), fats (total fat less than 35% of total calories, saturated fats less than 10% and no trans fats) and sodium (less than 230mg). 

Whole grains, protein, fruit, vegetables and dairy are encouraged. Products that naturally contain 10% of the daily recommendation for fiber, calcium or vitamin D are also accepted.

Here are some allowable examples:

  • Fruits & vegetables (dried, freeze-dried, canned, fresh – as first ingredient): think all fruit, fruit leathers, dried fruit bars, dried veggie chips and more.
  • Whole-grains (must include 50% whole grains or include whole grains as the first ingredient.): certain graham crackers, whole grain bars and chip alternatives are good choices.
  • Nuts and seeds, plain roasted or with dried fruit.

Being well versed in your local school systems restrictions will help you better equip your school-aged shoppers and parents with snacks for healthier fundraisers as well as other school related events.