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Meal Supplements (Snacks) Under the NSLP

Information about sponsoring after-school snacks under the National School Lunch Program.

Program Information

What are meal supplements (after-school snacks) under the National School Lunch Program?

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) offers reimbursement to schools serving nutritious snacks to children participating in after-school care programs. After-school snacks under the NSLP are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and, in California, administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division.

What are the benefits of after-school snacks?

After-school snacks provide children with nutrition during after-school care and enhance their learning abilities by contributing to their physical and mental well-being. Studies have shown that children whose nutritional needs are met have fewer attendance and discipline problems and are more attentive to learning.

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What type of after-school snack must be offered?

A reimbursable snack must contain full servings of any two of the following four food components:

  • Fluid milk;
  • Meat or meat alternate;
  • Fruit, vegetable, or 100% juice; and
  • Grain or bread product.

These components may be served in any combination, except that juice may not be served when milk is the only other component. Portion sizes for various age groups can be found on the Meal Supplement Chart for Children in Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7CFR) External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), Section 210.10(n).

What types of programs are eligible for reimbursement of after-school snacks?

To be eligible for reimbursement of after-school snacks, an after-school care program must meet the following criteria:

  • The program is operated by a school district or agency that participates in the NSLP;
  • The purpose of the program is to provide structured, supervised care in an after-school setting; and
  • The program provides children with regularly scheduled education or enrichment activities.

If a district or agency participates in the NSLP, then all of the schools under its jurisdiction are eligible to provide after-school snacks in an after-school care program. The after-school program site itself need not participate in the NSLP, only the district must participate in the NSLP.

When is reimbursement not allowed for after-school snacks?

  • Organized athletic programs engaged in interscholastic sports cannot be approved as after-school care programs under this provision. An eligible after-school care program must be open to all and cannot limit membership for reasons other than space or security considerations.
  • Snacks will not be reimbursed in programs operated before or during the child’s school day, on weekends, holidays, or during school vacation periods.

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How much reimbursement does a school receive for serving after-school snacks?

The amount of reimbursement depends on whether the site is site-eligible or area-eligible. If a site is located at a school where at least 50 percent of the enrolled children are approved for free or reduced-price meals, that site is site-eligible. If a site is located in the attendance area of a school where at least 50 percent of the enrolled children are approved for free or reduced-price meals, that site is area-eligible. In a site-eligible or area-eligible site, snacks must be served at no charge and claimed at the free rate, regardless of each individual child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. Residential child care institutions may use their own enrollment to qualify.

After-school snacks served in sites that are not site or area-eligible are claimed and reimbursed according to each individual child’s eligibility category (free, reduced-price, or paid). Schools may charge children who are eligible for paid or reduced-price snacks. The maximum amount that can be charged for a reduced-price snack is 15 cents.

Visit Rates, Income Eligibility, & Funding for a complete list of meal reimbursements.

NSLP sponsors submit monthly after-school snack counts as part of their regular monthly claim for the lunch and/or breakfast program.

What records must be maintained?

Sponsors electing to offer after-school snack must conduct monitoring reviews for each site two times per program year. The first review must occur by the fourth week in operation each school year.

At a minimum, participating NSLP sponsors must maintain the following after-school snack records:

  • Documentation of the site’s area-eligibility (when site claims all snacks at the free rate)
  • Documentation of children’s free and reduced-price meal eligibility (when site claims snacks based on child’s eligibility category)
  • Meal counts (total number of snacks served for area-eligible sites; snack counts by eligibility category for others)
  • Documentation of individual children’s attendance on a daily basis
  • Documentation of compliance with the after-school snack meal pattern requirements.

What types of agencies may participate?

Public and private nonprofit schools and districts that participate in the NSLP and operate an after-school care program are eligible to be reimbursed for after-school snacks. Also eligible are public or private nonprofit residential child care institutions (e.g., group homes, juvenile halls, orphanages, etc.) that participate in the NSLP.

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Where can we get assistance?

Nutritionists and program staff from the CDE, Nutrition Services Division, are available to provide free technical assistance and guidance on how to serve and claim after-school snacks under the NSLP.

How do we apply?

Please contact your School Nutrition Programs (SNP) county specialist. The SNP county specialist list is available in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) Download Forms section, Form ID Caseload. You may also contact the SNP Office Technician by phone at 916-322-1450 to be directed to your SNP county specialist.

How can we obtain more information?

Information about after-school snacks is available at the following Web pages:

Questions:   School Nutrition Programs Unit | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 11, 2015

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