Updated in 2013, as required by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, new federal regulations come in to effect nationwide during the 2014/15 school year. These are the first national updates in 30 years and will require that snacks are reasonable, child-sized protions, fewer than 200 calories and low in fat, sodium and sugar. The minimum standard also requires that these foods fit into one of the five following catergories: fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy, wholegrain.
Foods sold outside of the school lunch environment are often calorie dense, low nutrition items such as sugar-sweetened beverages, chips and other snacks.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) feeds nearly 32 million children each day with meals supplied through the school cafeteria. Additionally, 11.7 million children take part in the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Schools provide a key place to help develop healthy eating habits. Schools are at the heart of children’s health and a national focal point for obesity, yet in many states and districts this opportunity is missed. School aged children’s diets fall short of nutritional recommendations.
In oder to help support these changes and ensure your school is meeting the new standards, three questions need to be asked:
1. What are children eating at school every day?
2. Who makes the decisions about food in the school and/or district?
3. What changes can be made?
Remember to love your lunch ladies. Visit them and thank them for the great job they do (yes “mom” this is for you). They are important, and take care of our children and I want to help make their job easier.