As a pediatric dietitian and mom of school-age children, I am continually encouraged by the improvements to the National School Lunch and SchoolBreakfast Programs. First Lady Michelle Obama has been a champion for childhood obesity, and continues to make great strides in making school lunches healthier under the Healthy, Hunger-Free KidsAct. New school food guidelines are coming to all schools that participate in the National School LunchProgram. You should see changes by the second half of 2012.
|School meals sample menu -before/after|
(click to enlarge) · Double the amount of fruits and vegetables being offered, up from just ½ cup combined to a minimum of ¾ cup veggie and plus a minimum of ½ cup of fruit per lunch.
· Weekly requirements of dark green, red/orange and beans/legumes, as opposed to no specific requirements before
· Specific amounts of protein requirements by age group with younger children having smaller portions; as opposed to one set portion across the board for every age
· Half of all grains must be whole grains, as opposed to them being “encouraged”
· Milk must be fat-free (flavored or unflavored) or 1% (unflavored), as opposed to no guidelines before
· Now, sodium levels set by age as opposed by no sodium levels established before
· Minimum and maximum calorie levels set by age ranges
· No trans fat in any food, as opposed to no limits before
If your child attends private school, or if your child attends public school with a high socioeconomic distribution then your school may opt out of the National School Lunch Program. Ask your school foodservice administration for their child’s school nutrition standards.