What are meal supplements (after-school snacks) under the National School Lunch Program?
What are the benefits of after-school snacks?
What type of after-school snack must be offered?
What types of programs are eligible for reimbursement of after-school snacks?
When is reimbursement not allowed for after-school snacks?
How much reimbursement does a school receive for serving after-school snacks?
What records must be maintained?
What types of agencies may participate?
Where can we get assistance?
How do we apply?
How can we obtain more information?
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, Nutrition Services Division.
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.
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), Section 210.10(n).
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.
- 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.
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.
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; and
- Documentation of compliance with the after-school snack meal pattern requirements.
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.
Nutritionists and program staff from the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division, are available to provide free technical assistance and guidance on how to serve and claim after-school snacks under the NSLP.
Please see the county list of School Nutrition Programs (SNP) specialists in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS). You may also contact the SNP Unit Secretary by phone at 916-322-1450.
Information about after-school snacks is available at the following Web sites: