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Answers from the BJC Experts

Ask the BJC Expert allows you to get the answers you need about a variety of health, medicine and exercise issues to help you live a more healthy life.

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My son’s school district has adopted the Missouri Eat Well guidelines for all aspects of school, including class parties and celebration of children’s birthdays. The criteria calls for each portion size to be less than 200 calories, less than 35 percent fat content and less than 35 percent its weight in sugars. A previous school district policy prohibits anything other than individual, sealed packaging. As the VP of the PTA, I went shopping and cannot find anything that meets this criteria and would still be something the kids would enjoy. The calorie and fat content is not the main problem — sugars are. Even tiny fruit cups exceed this limit. The few things I have seen are cost-prohibitive for classrooms of 25. What ideas do you have?

I did some research into the Missouri Eat Smart Guidelines. Schools are now required to follow these guidelines and have wellness policies in place. The regulations for following the guidelines vary by school district. Some policies state that the snack item has to meet 2 out of the 3 criteria points set up by these guidelines. Many schools are saying no cupcakes or candy for school parties. As I'm sure you are aware, this is to promote good nutrition in our schools and help with the problem of obesity, which has increased among school-age children and teens.

I checked little fruits cups and a small package of Lorna Doones, and they did fit the criteria for sugar. Be sure to take the grams and divide it by the weight in grams of the product. Some snack ideas that come to my mind would be pretzels, animal crackers or little boxes of raisins. If you'd like to send me your school's particular guidelines, I can check further into it for you.

Another concept behind these guidelines is to focus on using other things for rewards or celebrations. Perhaps movie tickets, little prizes of some sort could be fun. Items that promote activity would be especially good.

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