Like many other parents, I’ve spent hours planning and packing healthy lunches and snacks for my children to take with them to school. Apples, oranges and grapes featured frequently, as did hard-boiled eggs, packed alongside some pepper or mustard for flavoring. Now eggs can make their way to the classroom on their own.
Final guidelines issued recently by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service under its Smart Snacks Rule qualifies eggs, specifically hard-boiled eggs, as an option for healthy snacks and a la carte offerings in schools. In a change from earlier renditions of the rule, this final rule exempts whole eggs from limits on both total fat and saturated fat.
Drawing on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, this rule carefully balances science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating in schools. In fact, the final rule’s preamble specifically cites the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that identifies eggs as “nutrient dense” and includes eggs in its recommended healthy eating patterns. Schools can include hard-cooked or hard-boiled eggs as snacks or menu items, as long as no fat has been added to them.
One large egg contains varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus six grams of protein for just 70 calories, leading to its designation as a nutrient dense food.
Starting with school year 2014-2015, the Smart Snacks ruling mandated the types of food sold at schools, during the school day, meet certain nutrition standards. This Smart Snacks in School regulation applies to foods sold a la carte, in the school store and in vending machines. The ruling is designed to encourage children to make healthier snack choices that give them the nutrition they need to grow and learn, and conforms to the provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Protein packs and snacks featuring protein have garnered plenty of interest in the consumer sector, stating new entrants are “flooding” into the high-protein market. The packs illustrate creativity and variety that protein packs can display and hard-boiled eggs also present a canvas ready for creative embellishment. There are literally dozens of options for low-calorie and low-fat condiments that can help flavor hard-boiled eggs and we’ve created a few as thought starters. Overall, including hard-boiled eggs in this new ruling allows schools to use a nutrient dense food with plenty of creative options that can both please and nourish students.
To find a supplier of precooked hard-boiled eggs, visit American Egg Board’s newly revised Egg Product Buyers’ Guide.