USDA Changes Nutrition Components in School Lunch Program

Wow, along the lines of better late than never, the USDA just issued some new school lunch nutrition standards. It’s only been 15 years since the last standards were established. In that period of time, the obesity epidemic has sky-rocketed. As a whole these new standards seem basically sound. We are hearing about more fruits and vegetables everyday along with smaller portions. Only low-fat and skim milk will be offered as well as a lot more whole grain. Additionally schools will reportedly get more money per meal to make all of this a reality.

However, there are still some disturbing players out there that are helping shape policy. For example, Congress voted 2011 to disallow the USDA from limiting the serving size of potatoes in school lunches. There are also laws out there allowing schools to count tomato paste on pizza as a vegetable. However, the USDA seems steadfast in their efforts to make sure that beneficial changes occur. We’ll see… Here are a few details that seem promising: Calorie restriction depending upon the grade being served. The ranges go from 550 on the younger scale to 850 max for the oldest kids. Of the three ranges, each has a cap that permits no more than a 100 calorie swing. I.E. 550 to 650 for grades K-5. Additionally, not more than 10% of total calories can come from saturated fats and all meals must have zero trans fats. It would be nice to see some “rules” on protein. All in all, some decent steps are taking place. Will this be a total game changer? Only time will tell, but it’s nice to see that we are at least trying to make some positive changes.

Attached is a link to the full press release:

Make a lifestyle change

When it comes to weight loss, the buzzwords you might be hearing lately are lifestyle and change…as in, you need to make one to be successful at losing weight. It may seem like losing weight is a simple goal–do some exercise, go on a diet and voila!


While magazines and infomercials make it seem effortless, losing weight takes hard work and that often means changing different aspects of your life, like how you spend your time, how you schedule your day, and how/what you eat.

What’s Your Lifestyle Like? The reason lifestyle is so important is because how you live determines your choices and these choices decide how healthy you are and whether you’re on the road to weight loss. So what is a healthy lifestyle? The typical components include not smoking, eating healthy foods, exercising and keeping the body at a healthy weight. Where do you fall on the healthy lifestyle continuum? First, figure out how much time you spend doing the following:

Now, how much time do you spend:

If you spend more time doing the things in the first list than the second, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities and decide what you really want for yourself. Living healthy means spending time and energy on your body–moving it around and paying attention to what you put into it. An unhealthy lifestyle means you can avoid expending energy, time and effort…but at what cost?

Choosing Health

As humans, we like habits and routines…so much so that we often keep doing the same things even when we know they aren’t good for us. Changing bad habits takes time and effort and, for a healthy lifestyle, you may need to change a variety of things including:

Keep in mind the habits you have now were formed over many years and it’s unrealistic to expect to change them overnight.  While there will be times the old habits make an appearance before you know it, don’t let that deter you.  Get right back on track, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  While difficult, the rewards for making these changes will be endless.

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