The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing common-sense standards to improve school meals: more fruits, vegetables and whole grains; fat-free and low-fat milk; less sodium and fewer unhealthy fats and calories.
In order to finalize its standards, and for schools to begin to serve more nutritious breakfasts and lunches, USDA needs to know that you want healthier school foods too -- but we only have until April 13th to send public comments.
Kids need nutritious meals to help them grow strong and healthy and avoid long-term health risks such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of schools serve meals that do not meet current nutrition standards. Based on the strong recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and the federal government’s own Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the new USDA proposal would substantially improve the quality of school lunches and breakfasts.
If the USDA-proposed standards are finalized, school children will have healthier meals that include:
• More fruits and vegetables—double the amount of fruit at breakfast and more fruits and vegetables at lunch;
• A greater variety of vegetables to include more colorful options and fewer starchy vegetables like French fries;
• More whole grains—within two years all grains served will be whole grain;
• Only fat-free and low-fat milk and limits on flavored milk; and
• Less sodium, which will be phased in over time.
USDA is calling for these standards to be in place by the Fall of 2012 and will provide model recipes, menus and training to food service staff to help the schools serve more healthful meals.
Please join us in supporting the proposed standards before the comment deadline on April 13th -- and let USDA know you want healthier school meals for all students.
The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project is a collaboration of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.