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Santa Monica-Malibu Schools Adopt ‘Smart Snacks’ Standards  

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

January 25, 2017 -- When Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) students get that midday craving, they will no longer be able to purchase items from the snack bar for a quick bite that are deemed unhealthy.

The District announced Monday that it has adopted the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “smart snacks” standards.

An SMMUSD press release says the new standards “can ensure that kids are offered tasty and nutritious foods during the school day, both in the cafeteria and at snack bars.”

The new rules mean pizza slices, chicken sandwiches and burritos will no longer be available ala carte in middle and high schools, although they still will be available for purchase as part of a regular lunch.

Items that could vanish altogether include “some chips, beverages, corn nuts and other snacks that do not meet nutrient requirements due to calorie, sodium, fat and sugar limits.”

“The health and safety of our students is our top priority," District Superintendent Ben Drati said in a statement. "Research shows that kids who have healthy eating patterns are more likely to perform better academically, and we can do our part to contribute to these lifelong habits.”

The District says it has “made notable changes” to its menu over the years to include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The menu will continue to change “to ensure that students have access to healthy and nutritious foods that are tasty too.”

This nutrition news comes one month after State officials determined SMMUSD students are more physically fit than others in California (“Santa Monica-Malibu Students More Physically Fit Than Peers Statewide,” December 20, 2016).

The results of the California Physical Fitness Report are based on how students in grades five, seven and nine performed in six fitness categories during a test last school year.

In addition to being more physically fit than their peers statewide, SMMUSD students were also deemed to be in better shape than fellow pupils countywide.

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