Students will soon find fewer hot dogs and more apples and broccoli on their school lunch menus thanks to new federal nutrition guidelines announced Wednesday.
The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than 15 years and will help improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day.
“When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won’t be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home,” said First Lady Michelle Obama in a news release announcing the improvements. “We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables.”
The first lady unveiled the changes with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack while visiting with students at an Alexandria, Va., elementary school.
According to the secretary’s post on the USDA Blog, the new guidelines will ensure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week; substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods; limit milk offerings to only fat-free or low-fat varieties; limit calories; and reduce the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which was championed by the first lady as part of her Let’s Move campaign and other health advocates, including APHA. The changes will be phased in over the next three years starting in the fall.
You can view a sample menu before and after the changes here. Would you eat from this menu?