Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Standards for School Lunches

Championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, the USDA has released new nutrition standards for school lunches. Lunches should now include more whole grains, leafy greens, fruits and vegetables. The new guidelines also set maximum calories per meal and targets that aim to reduce sodium, saturated and trans fats in school lunches. Click here for comments from the  Environmental Working Group and related news coverage.  
Of course the proof is in the pudding and the question is, will kids eat it? Mealtime comes down to individual plates and palates when the new standards are served up.
Marion Nestle’s blog Food Politics details the history of how the new nutrition standards came to be. There’s been some compromise on what counts as a vegetable; an inexact word, as a result pizza now counts as a vegetable.
Marion suggests our next steps:
·         Set nutrition standards for competitive foods in schools—those sold outside of the lunch program as snacks and meal replacements.
·         Teach kids where food comes from
·         Teach kids to cook