Your child’s food in school is changing for the better. Last year the USDA required new healthier guidelines for school lunches. The changes to school lunches were made to help stop the increasing rate of childhood obesity. As reported by USA Today, foods sold at schools’ a la carte and vending machines will have to be healthier than they were before.
Here is a proposed standard of what a la carte and vending machines could look like in the near future:
- Foods cannot contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and saturated fat.
- Reduced-fat cheese, nuts and nut butters (almond butter, peanut butter, pistachio butter) can contain trans fat, but no other alternative foods can have trans fat.
- A la carte and vending machine foods must be either a fruit, vegetable, dairy produce, protein food, whole-grain-rich grains or a combination of foods that have 1/4 cup of fruit of vegetables.
- 10% of calcium, potassium vitamin D or fiber must be present in the foods.
However, the standards do not apply to children’s sack lunches, bake sales, or food brought to class to celebrate birthdays or a special occasion. The question is, will there be a public outcry by parents and students who think the food they eat should be their decision not the government? Mayor Bloomberg won his battle with sugary beverages when the soda ban was passed last October in New York City. Foods and beverages high in fat and sugar are causing people to develop health problems that are costing them their lives. Young American children are the future of this country; but that future is bleak when these children are dying younger than their parents will because of obesity.
With more than one-third of American children being overweight or obese these new food standards could help children see that food isn’t all about sweets and grease. Food should be clean and healthy! Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Good nutrition lays the groundwork for good health and academic success.”
I remember when I was in high school, my food choices in the a la carte line were ice cream bars, giant chocolate chip muffins, Gatorade, greasy chips and fries, or a giant pickle. Obviously, those foods aren’t healthy at all. Looking back at my high school diet it seems like a great idea for the government to set new standards for snacks and alternative foods in schools.