Snacks in schools are up next for a healthy makeover

At the start of this school year, school lunches got healthier.

York Suburban swapped out old vending machines at the high school for a healthier variety before the start of the 2012-13 school year. (File photo)

Next up: snacks and other foods sold in school.

The federal Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act required schools to take a number of steps to make school lunches more nutritious this year. But according to a news release, the act required the USDA establish nutrition standards for all foods, not just lunches.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released proposed new standards for other foods, being called “Smart Snacks in School.”

The news release says the proposed rules would mean more healthy snack foods with whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein as their main ingredients. It would aim to have schools provide snacks that are lower in fat, sugar, and sodium, the release says.

The rules would apply to foods sold on campus during the school day, the release says, and would not affect items sold at after-school events, for example. There would be flexibility for special events like holidays, birthdays or fundraisers, it says.

The complete set of proposed rules can be read here. Public comment is being sought.

The complete rules are pretty lengthy. A summary provided shows there would be limits on fat, calories and sodium in snacks, and beverages would be affected, too.

“Parents and teachers work hard to instill healthy eating habits in our kids, and these efforts should be supported when kids walk through the schoolhouse door,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “Good nutrition lays the groundwork for good health and academic success. Providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will complement the gains made with the new, healthy standards for school breakfast and lunch so the healthy choice is the easy choice for our kids.”

What do you think?

Related stories:

A report showed good results and room for improvement in Pennsylvania when it comes to schools selling healthy snacks in secondary schools.

Students have been adapting to school lunch changes.

 

 

 

About Angie Mason

I'm the education reporter at the York Daily Record. Follow me on Twitter: @angiemason1
This entry was posted in Angie Mason, Education issues, Nutrition and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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