School Kids Are Going to Eat Better — Well — At Least More Nutritiously

On January 25, the United States Department of Agriculture issued the first updated nutrition standards for schools in 15 years.

The standards clock in at 280 pages and allow, among other things, schools in American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to serve starchy vegetables like yams, plantains or sweet potatoes to meet the new grain/bread rules.

Generally, the rules require more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. More fat-free and low-fat milk. Less salt, saturated fat and trans fat.

According to the  USDA, “these improvements to the school meal programs, largely based on recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, are expected to enhance the diet and health of school children and help mitigate the childhood obesity trend.”

(Editor’s Note: With respect, seems a bit more serious than a trend.)

This sample menu accompanying a synopsis of the rule changes by National Public Radio offers an illustration of cafeteria fare of the future.

Don’t expect fries or chocolate milk to vanish, as NPR explains.

First Lady MIchelle Obama is an enthusiastic supporter.

So is California State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson:

 “These new standards will help put more fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches, which means healthier children in our classrooms,” Torlakson said. “Our Team California for Healthy Kids campaign is all about making the healthy choice the easy choice for students and families, and these new standards will help us achieve that goal.”

 More than 500 of the state’s schools are already moving to put the healthier fare in front of students, Torlakson said.







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