Last Wednesday, January 25th, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the USDA’s new standards for school meals, the first such change in fifteen years. The new regulations, set to phase in over a three-year period beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, significantly increase the requirements for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains served to schoolchildren across the country.
From the USDA’s press release:
The final standards make the same kinds of practical changes that many parents are already encouraging at home, including:
- Ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
- Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
- Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties;
- Limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and
- Increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium
We think this is great news for kids, but puts a lot of work on to our already overworked and dedicated food service directors and staff throughout the country. So, let’s try to support school nutrition and school food service whenever we can, and look forward to helping them lead the way to create healthier schools and healthier children.
|USDA Press Release (usda.gov)
USDA blog: Healthy Meals and Healthy Kids (usda.gov)
Full text of Mrs. Obama’s remarks (whitehouse.gov)
SNA responds to member comments on the First Lady’s remarks (schoolnutrition.org)