With the new USDA Smart Snacks Standards now in effect, we know that everyone is scrambling to find menu options that meet the requirements. One strategy that we came across recently was the idea of bundling items together to create viable entrées.
Under the new guidelines, an entrée is defined as either:
- A combination food of meat or meat alternate and whole grain rich food;
- A combination food of vegetable or fruit and meat or meat alternate;
- A meat or meat alternate alone with the exception of yogurt, low-fat or reduced fat cheese, nuts, seeds and nut or seed butters, and meat snacks.
*A combination food is defined as a product that contains two or more components representing two or more of the recommended food groups: fruit, vegetable, dairy, protein or grains.
Additionally, an entrée must meet the following nutrient requirements:
- Calorie limits:
- Entrée items: ≤ 350 calories
- Sodium limits:
- Entrée items: ≤ 480 mg
- Fat limits:
- Total fat: ≤35% of calories
- Saturated fat: <10% of calories
- Trans fat: zero grams
- Sugar limits:
- ≤ 35% of weight from total sugars in foods
That’s a lot to consider, but here’s a simple example of how bundling can work for you:
Take a combination food like Gold Kist’s Homestyle Breaded Chicken Nuggets. On their own, they fall under definition (i) of the entrée guidelines (so no need to count the bun toward the nutritionals) and meet all of the requirements except for that pesky % of calories from fat (40%).
By bundling 3 packets of Red Gold’s All Natural Low Sodium Ketchup with the nuggets, you are able to drop that percentage to 34%.
Before: 72 cal from fat/180 total cal = .40
After: 72 cal from fat/210 total cal = .34
Each packet adds 10 calories to the equation without adding any calories from fat and, voila, you’ve effectively dropped the total percentage below the 35% threshold.
Call Barry Food Sales at 800-378-1548, for a complete list of all of the Smart Snacks from Pilgrim’s Pride/GoldKist that can be bundled.
This is just one strategy we came across.
What are some of the creative ways you came up with to deal with the new regulations?