Thanks to updated USDA guidelines that offer more flexibility with crediting smoothie components across all programs and a new collection of recipes tailored to K-12, there are endless opportunities to build participation with this kid-favorite menu item.
How Smoothies Meet Requirements
A memo from the USDA outlines the following requirements on how smoothie components can be credited:
- Yogurt (4 oz.) in smoothies credits as a meat alternate in all programs.
- Fruit and vegetables in smoothies credit for up to 50 percent of the weekly fruit and vegetable requirement when served for the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program or After School Snack Program.
- When fruits and vegetables are used in smoothies served for the Summer Foodservice Program or CACFP, they are credited for up to 50 percent of the daily fruit and vegetable requirements.
- Pureed fruit and vegetables in smoothies credit as juice.
At General Mills Foodservice, we are excited to hear from many schools that are adding smoothies to their menus following the USDA’s changes. Westview Elementary School in Apple Valley, Minn., recently starting serving smoothies at breakfast and has seen some of the school’s highest breakfast participation.
“When we serve smoothies, participation is through the roof,” said Cynthia Landgrebe, Food Service manager at Westview Elementary. “Kids eat with their eyes, plus they are excited to get an item they are used to seeing at restaurants or enjoying outside of school.”
Cynthia added that she feels good about serving smoothies since they ensure kids actually eat fruits and vegetables, instead of throwing them in the trash. It is also a filling menu item that will hold students over until their next meal or snack.