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: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/01/0023.xml
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