We've talked about school lunch before on this site. We feel strongly about what our kids eat, what we eat, and the quality of sustainable foods and farming. This site also reported on the topic a couple of months ago when lawmakers considered pizza a vegetable serving because of its two tablespoons of tomato paste per serving.
Reuters reported today that the USDA has done a small overhaul of school nutrition to include more fruits and vegetables and skim milk. They have also mandated a child-size portion and lower sodium, among other things.
About time, isn't it? See the excerpt below.
More fruits, veggies in school lunch rules
By Ian Simpson and Lisa Baertlein | Reuters – 59 mins ago
WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. school children, accustomed to a steady diet of pizza and French fries, will find more fruits, vegetables and whole grains on their trays under new government rules announced on Wednesday.
The new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rules aim to boost the nutritional quality of the federally funded meals consumed by roughly 32 million U.S. school children.
The rules represent the first major revision of school meal standards in more than 15 years and are intended to combat the nation's childhood obesity crisis -- nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese.
The revamp comes just months after U.S. lawmakers protected pizza's status as a vegetable and killed proposed limits on weekly servings of starchy vegetables like potatoes.
In addition to doubling produce servings, the new guidelines call for serving only fat-free and low fat milk, child-appropriate portion sizes and reductions in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.
They fall under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which was championed by first lady Michelle Obama. President Barack Obama approved the measure in late 2010.
The new standards will be largely phased in over time, starting in the 2012-13 school year. They are estimated to cost roughly $3.2 billion to implement over the next five years, starting in the 2012-13 school year.
HHFKA provides more funding to schools to help cover the extra costs associated with the menu changes.
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Image courtesy of Change.org.