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School Lunch Standards to Take Effect This Year

Whole grain-rich foods, more fruits and vegetables mandated.

School districts across the country will bring new meaning to the "apple a day" saying this school year as nationally-mandated school lunch standards take effect.

Beginning in September, the new lunch standards, introduced in January by First Lady Michelle Obama under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, will be implemented. The standards were created to help fight childhood obesity throughout the nation.

According to a press release from the United States Department of Agriculture, the new meal standards are designed to "make the same kinds of practical changes that many parents are already encouraging at home." This involves the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, whole grain-rich foods, low-calorie foods and foods with reduced amounts of saturated and trans-fats and sodium in students' diets.

Specifically, 50 percent of grains served beginning July 1, 2012, must be whole grain-rich, with the percentage planned to increase to 100 percent within two years. A minimum of 1/2 cup of fruits and vegetables must be taken by students daily and over the next 10 years, total sodium should be reduced by 50 percent in school meals.

“Improving the quality of the school meals is a critical step in building a healthy future for our kids,” USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “When it comes to our children, we must do everything possible to provide them the nutrition they need to be healthy, active and ready to face the future."

This school year will begin a three-year process where schools will have to eventually phase in healthier foods for breakfast meals as well.

What do you think? Are the new school lunch standards necessary? Participate in our poll below then let us know your thoughts in the comments.

S.G. August 28, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Ms. Urbano did say earlier that she was feeling ill...but, yeah, this was entirely too much infomation.
S.G. August 28, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Max, read this past Sunday's article in the Star-Ledger Parade Magazine about the Romneys. They are home with the family, including grandchildren, making a traditional meal of lobsters and corn. How many Americans are emplyed in the lobster industry?
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 28, 2012 at 03:48 PM
S.G., I don't care a white what Governor Romney or his family eats or how long his vacations are because he pays for it out of his own pocket. On the other hand, when Obozo's brood devour lobsters and Kobe beef by the metric ton and spend millions on luxurious vacations, the taxpayers like you and me wind up with the bill. See the difference now?
dakota September 17, 2012 at 02:15 PM
well im 15yrs old and go to zephyrhills high school in florida and im a huskey boy and when the lunch is 25 cents more yr after yr and the food is constanly decreased and u leave lunch with less money in your account and more room for food in your stomach then were going to go home and eat the tastey un healthy stuff. But if M. Obama would increase the amount of the food u get at school all the while keeping it healthy u we will leave lunch with full stomach happy and ready to learn.
Lost hope November 24, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Mrs Obama is NOT the driving force behind all this dietary change as many of you have given her credit for... The ADA, more formerly known as the AND has been putting a great deal of pressure on dietary changes across the board. Quite honestly I am NOT an Obama fan; however, I do feel that change is grossly necessary in order to avert more of an obesity epidemic...

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