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USDA makes changes to school lunches – do you think it’s enough?

on January 26, 2012

Breaking news out of Washington yesterday.  The USDA released new nutrition standards for the nation’s school lunch program for the first time in 15 years.  Although we have not been silent about this is the past (tomato sauce is a vegetable Congress?  REALLY?!) we hope that these changes actually start to raise awareness on the health and wellness of our children.

This chart (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/comparison.pdf) provides a great comparison between what was and what is now accepted.  Some highlights are:

  • More fruits and vegetables
  • A greater range of vegetables
  • A requirement for whole grains
  • All milk to be 1% or less
  • Only non-fat milk to be permitted to be flavored

An example of how this will translate to actual school lunches in elementary school, a sample lunch “could be whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce and a whole wheat roll, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi, low-fat milk, low-fat ranch dip and soft margarine.  That lunch would replace a meal of a hot dog on a bun with ketchup, canned pears, raw celery and carrots with ranch dressing, and low-fat chocolate milk,” according to Reuters.

I was reading comments attached to the articles reporting this story last night and I was shocked to find a number of parents writing in sarcastic messages of “good luck” in getting their children to eat more vegetables and fruit in school.  It made me sad to read these comments.  As I observe any parenting choice, I know I should keep my opinions to myself.  It’s always easier to judge another person’s situation when it’s not my own.  In this case, however, I have to believe we can do better.  Although no school lunch effort is perfect, I hope that these small changes help us all take our children’s nutrition more seriously.  

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE80O2K020120125?irpc=932 and http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/01/cheers-for-usdas-new-nutrition-standards/

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One response to “USDA makes changes to school lunches – do you think it’s enough?

  1. […] organization like the National School Lunch Program.  (You’ve probably seen our thoughts on tomato sauce as a […]

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