Look for big changes in school
lunches this fall
Menus will feature fruits and vegetables every day, plus whole-grain rich foods
When students step into the school cafeteria this September, they will discover a new look on their lunch trays—less fatty foods and more fruits and vegetables, only fat-free and low-fat milk, and more whole grains. The changes are part of the new national standard for school meals under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act that First Lady Michelle Obama is promoting as part of her “Let’s Move!” health and wellness campaign. This act is designed to combat childhood obesity and to encourage healthy eating habits in children.
To meet the new standards, Massena Central School District will double the amount of fruits and vegetables we serve and offer specific categories of vegetables weekly (leafy green, orange/red, legumes, and beans). The standards also limit the quantity of starchy vegetables, (think tater tots and canned corn) schools can offer throughout the week.
For example, a typical school lunch in 2011-12 might have featured canned pineapple slices, baby carrots with ranch dip, and pizza sticks with full-fat mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce for dipping.
For the 2012-13 school year, a typical lunch may include a chef salad with leafy green lettuce served with low-fat mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, and a whole-wheat roll; oven-baked sweet potato fries; fresh kiwi halves; raw vegetables (such as broccoli or cherry tomatoes); and non-fat milk.
The regulations also put calorie caps on lunches based on grade levels. Maximum calories per served lunch are: 650 calories for grades K-5; 700 calories for grades 6-8; and 850 calories for grades 9-12.
Other important changes include:
- Whole-grain bread, pasta, tortillas and rice instead of white and refined starches;
- Low-fat or fat-free milk, including chocolate and strawberry flavors instead of 2 percent milk;
- Less saturated fats (fatty meats, ice cream, whole milk cheese, etc.), trans fats (found in commercial baked goods and fried foods such as French fries) and sodium (salt); and
- Greater choice of healthy options.
The changes take effect in September and are just the first steps in a three-year plan to phase-in the new standards. Changes to breakfast meals and snacks served in school will happen over the next two years.
“The new ideas give the kids a chance to open up to a whole new world of different types of foods,” said Director of Food Service Peter Bertrand.
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