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Healthier Lunches Will be Part of Back to School This Year

New federal rules will require more fruits, vegetables, along with calorie limits.

As kids head back to school this week they’ll see more than just new books and teachers in their classrooms. For the first time, they’ll be seeing healthier hot lunches.

Under rules that take affect this year in federally-subsidized public school lunch programs, the federal government is for the first time imposing calorie and sodium limits on school lunch offerings and requiring schools to offer students more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The new rules, established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, represent the first changes in public school lunch programs in 15 years. The calorie and sodium limits imposed under the new guidelines are based on a student’s age.

The changes are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and are part of an overall effort to make federally subsidized school hot lunches healthier for kids and help reduce a growing obesity problem in the country.

The new requirements include:

  • Age-appropriate calorie limits and portion sizes;
  • Larger servings of vegetables and fruits (students must take at least one serving of produce with their school lunch)
  • A wider variety of vegetables, including dark green and red/orange vegetables and legumes
  • Fat-free or 1 percent milk (flavored milk must be fat-free)
  • Reduced sodium content

Officials with the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut said they applaud the federal school lunch changes, but added that some districts in Connecticut were already trying to make their lunches healthier before the new rules were passed.

“While these standards will be seen in schools nationwide for the first time this fall, many Connecticut school districts have already begun these efforts,” said Susan Maffe, President of SNACT. “We continue to proactively work to offer additional opportunities for healthier and nutritious lunches and are committed to ensuring a higher quality of nutritional standards than ever before as well as empowering students to make a healthier change.”

Christine E. August 28, 2012 at 07:21 PM
haha. You spelled illiterate incorrectly. Irony is funny.
christine August 28, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Well, I'll be the odd one out and say I am all for the new changes. My child loves the lunches so far, today it was mac and cheese, raw broccoli, pear slices etc. I've seen the way some adults eat, and the "healthy" snacks they send in with their children (such as twinkies!) so it's wonderful to teach the children of all ages healthier choices. As pointed out, they can always bring in their own lunches if they aren't happy, I sure don't have fond memories of my own school lunches!
Christine E. August 28, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Yes - but Mac and Cheese is not healthy. Mac and Cheese is loaded with fat and cholesterol. Making a kid eat a pear or some broccoli with the mac and cheese, doesn't cancel out the health factor.
christine August 28, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Actually the lunches are now required to be lower in fat, low trans fats, low sodium, more whole grains etc. So the new mac and cheese likely isn't the same old mac and cheese we remember from our childhood. The above news story doesn't give all the info, I will try to attach a link to the newsletter from Sodexho that came home to parents, it lists the changes in more detail. https://www.sodexoeducation.com/segment_0200/district_0907/ENM/Entry1/view_pdf.asp?school=5&mealCategory=10&month=2012/8&fichier=201208_51_440_5_10.pdf&monthSelected=August%202012&schoolSelected=Monroe%20Elementary%20School&mealSelected=Parent%20Back%20To%20School%20Newsletter&erreurPdf=
christine August 28, 2012 at 08:10 PM
If anyone wants to see the menus, here's another link. I think there are a lot of choices. https://www.sodexoeducation.com/segment_0200/district_0907/ENM/Entry1/default.asp?school=5&mealCategory=9&month=2012/8&fichier=&monthSelected=August%202012&schoolSelected=Monroe%20Elementary%20School&mealSelected=Parent%20Newsletter&erreurPdf=true

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