During the coming school year, expect to see important changes in school lunches nationwide. School cafeterias are now required to meet new federal nutrition standards that aim to promote a healthy lifestyle. These changes are planned to address the rising rate of childhood obesity as well as increased health complications in our population. More schools are actively trying to create a healthier school environment. It is important to encourage your child/children to choose a well-balanced school lunch.
The new guidelines set strict regulations for portion size yet offer a wide variety of milk, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains. Examples of these new federal regulations include:
· Specific portion sizes individualized for each grade range (K-5,6-8, 9-12);
· Fat free or low fat milk (flavored milk will only be offered as fat free);
· Larger servings and more variety of fruits and vegetables
· More whole grain products such as breads, pasta, and cereals;
· Specific calorie ranges, limited saturated fats & only naturally occurring trans fats;
· Students must select a minimum of a ½ cup of fruit or vegetable on their tray.