Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture revised their new ruling on a daily limit of meats and grains in school lunches.
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The changes were a response to criticism by several lawmakers and school administrators who wrote the USDA, saying that the maximums set on grains and meats was too limiting to school lunch staff who were trying to plan a daily balanced lunch menu.
On Dec. 2, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement regarding House passage of S. 3307 "The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.”
“This is an historic victory for our nation's youngsters,” said Vilsack. “This legislation will allow USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, the chance to make real reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children.”
On Dec. 14, a revised meat/meat alternative and milk chart was sent to all regions and state directors of child nutrition programs. The revised chart included additional information on beans, soy, chicken, tofu, and yogurt.
“There has been a recent change to the minimum maximum amounts of grains required and allowed for this school year,” commented Nutrition Services Manager for Crook County Schools Liane Kaiser. “However, I have not seen any change regarding calorie minimum and maximums to date.”
Under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the new meal requirements and standards are raised for the first time in more than 15 years.
"Improving the nutrition of school meals is an important investment in the future of America's children," said Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon. "We know that healthy food plays a vital role in strengthening a child's body and mind and the healthier school meals will help to ensure our children can learn, grow, and reach their full potential."
When students started this school year, schools began phasing in the nutrition standards over a three-year period. Schools will focus on changes in the lunches in the first year, with most changes in breakfast to take place in future years.