Delicious Living Blog

USDA school food guidelines: overdue but welcome

Inch by inch, the government moves toward improving food that's sold in schools.

Good news for kids health: Federal rules released in late June (OK, they were originally supposed to happen in 2011, but better late than never) dictate even stricter healthy guidelines for foods offered and sold in all public schools—a big step toward helping kids reduce calorie intake and thus ward off excess weight. (See our recent article on hopeful signs in the fight against childhood obesity.) 

Given that many kids eat most of their daily calories at school, these overdue regulations are bound to have profound health benefits. Schools have until July 2014 to implement the new rules, which include the following:

  • All foods must contain fruit, vegetable, dairy, or protein.
  • All foods must contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or fiber.
  • Vending machine snacks are limited to 200 calories. (A full-size Snickers bar has 250 calories.)
  • One 12-ounce drink is limited to 60 calories. (A 12-ounce can of Sprite has 148 calories.)
  • Portion sizes vary depending on age; smaller sizes for smaller kids.

So bravo, USDA, for finally enacting something wide-reaching and meaningful for children’s health.

What changes has your school made to improve food? Do your kids respond well to healthier choices or do they turn up their noses? Add your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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