Skip to comments.USDA To Require Healthier Meals In Schools With Updated Nutrition Standards
Posted on 01/27/2012 6:48:31 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Less salt and fat. More whole grains, fruit, veggies and low-fat dairy. This is what kids can expect in the school lunchroom soon, according to new nutrition standards for school meals announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and first lady Michelle Obama.
"When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won't be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home," Obama said in a statement. "We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables."
And remember all the political shenanigans over pizza as a veggie? Yes, pizza can technically still count as one serving of veggies. But that slice of pizza won't be served alone. The new standards call for two servings of vegetables per meal. So the pizza will come with a side of carrots or green beans.
Chocolate milk made the cut, too, although from here on out it will be skim, according to a sample menu created to show what the new standards will look like once implemented.
"The new school standards are a terrific step forward," Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest told The Salt. "And they would have been even better if Congress had not meddled."
One example: French fries. Originally, the USDA proposed a standard that would have limited servings of the starchy potato. But Wootan explains that the potato lobby found friends in Congress to help scrap that provision. The result: French fries will likely remain a staple of the school cafeteria. But they're likely to be a little less salty.
Another change in store: setting limits on total calories for a meal. While there are still many children at risk of food insecurity or hunger, there's also the competing challenge of obesity. In trying to balance these concerns, the USDA decided to set a calorie range.
For instance, the USDA say elementary school kids should receive lunches between 550 and 650 calories, which is about one-third of daily recommended calories.
The price tag on the changes? $3.2 billion over the next five years, the agency says. But schools will get some help with those costs from the government included in the package announced today is an increase of 6 cents per meal in reimbursement funds for schools. This is the first increase in reimbursement funds in 30 years.
Nearly 32 million kids participate in school meal programs every school day. In addition to revamping nutrition standards, USDA also recently began encouraging schools to partner with local farms to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into the lunchroom.
UPDATE 5:30 P.M.
The First Lady used a visit to a school cafeteria in Alexandria, Va. to talk about the new standards. And she also took the opportunity to nudge parents and teachers to be role-models for they're kids. She says that around her house, when she gets excited about something, her daughters get pumped up, too. And she says, in her experience, kids adapt to change so easily. "That's the beauty," she says.
As she pushed her tray down the lunch line and picked up the turkey tacos served with fresh salsa, brown rice, and whole grain flat bread, she told the kids that she has gotten her family into the habit of eating brown rice. And they all like it.
Parents who attended the First Lady's announcement at Parklawn Elementary say the nice thing about the healthy changes is that the school isn't scraping kids' favorite dishes. So for these elementary school kids, school food is cool.
"My son loves the taco," says Ellisa Simmons, mom to a kindergartener. And the switch to lower fat meat, brown rice and healthier sides isn't a big change.
Simmons says she's pretty sure the school lunch is better than what she can manage to pack in a brown bag.
"We're always so pressed for time" Simmons says it would be hard to get two veggies in a packed lunch. And with such healthy options at school, she says she won't even bother packing one.
Nanny State PING!
This is one in N examples (where N is exponentially increasing) of why our government needs to be thrown in the trash.
Shove it up your smelly collective Obamas, USDA.
Why not try reducing the fat of your bloated department?
Where in the constitution does the federal government have the authority to dictate salt content on french fries, sold to a student at a local public school?
How much many, and how many people are employed, enforcing french fry rules?
Why can’t each school board figure out what to offer in their own cafeteria?
I’m sure there are cafeterias throughtout the federal government, at various facilities. Why not enforce the exact same standards on these?
As I discovered raising kids, there is no point in serving healthy food they won’t eat and don’t enjoy.
What is the point of being so controlling? I know I am going to get some answers such as “They’ll eat it if they get hungry enough”. Sheesh.
Should people be allowed to control what they put into their own mouth? Do you want your kids growing up being able to be abused because they have never been allowed to exercise any choices? Choices about food are not that important, not like choices about whether to smoke or do drugs. Let them eat what they want, I never tried to control my kids’ food and they hate McD’s and are all trim, not pigs.
Only in America can an unelected nobody dictate what our kids can and cannot eat.
FTA: “Parents who attended the First Lady’s announcement at Parklawn Elementary say the nice thing about the healthy changes is that the school isn’t scraping kids’ favorite dishes”
Well, they will be scraping the kids’ plates - scraping the healthy food that they won’t eat right into the trash can.
Thanks for the food nazi post. I love to gather here with all the dissidents and resistance fighters in the war against delicious and delightful food.
A long time ago, I worked for Restaurant Associates. They knew that serving “healthy” food to children and (generally) working class adults meant: no profits. These folks will not eat brown rice and tofu unless forced to by the government or Mika Brezinski.
Looks like there will be more wasted food in the public school system now...
Thanks for the ping!
More slop to get thrown in the trash.
Not only that, from reading some of the primal websites, this change might not be healthier at all!
Little by little we cede our lives to the Government.
What bothers me about Michelle Obama is her one set of rule for the rest of us and she can do what she wants. It is do as I say, but not as I do. She forces the kids to eat her version of healthy, and then eats whatever she wants.
This where she celebrated her birthday.
This is another place she ate.
I miss the days when a vegetable was called a vegetable. When did this idiotic Veggie become the norm?
Yes! Rush is always good for pointing out these “Sleeper” scientific frauds.
I’m pretty sure the “veggie” stuff started in Great Britain. They’ve always referred to meat, potatoes and a vegetable as “meat and two veg.”
I’m so pressed for time every morning, I wish someone from DC would tell me what to wear. It’s so hard to put a sweater over a button down shirt. I’m such a helpless dumbass.
There’s already too many lunch trays dumped in the garbage now. Just wait until they start sending out extra cardboard and tvp cr@p for kids to eat. Back in the day, we had real food made by real moms as lunch ladies and the kids ate it up.
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