Look for big changes in school lunches this fall
Menus will feature fruits and vegetables every day plus whole-grain rich
When students step into the school cafeteria
this September, they will discover a new look on their lunch
trays—less fatty foods and more fruits and vegetables, only fat-free
and low-fat milk, and more whole grains. The changes are part of the
new national standard for school meals under the Healthy, Hunger Free
Kids Act designed to combat childhood obesity and to encourage healthy
eating habits in children.
A Healthy Change
To meet the new standards, Ilion CSD will double
the amount of fruits and vegetables we serve, offer specific
categories of vegetables weekly (leafy green, orange/red, legumes, and
beans), and include more whole grain products such as whole wheat
bread and pasta. The standards also limit the quantity of starchy
vegetables, (think tater tots and canned corn) schools can offer
throughout the week.
For the 2012-13 school year, a typical lunch
may include a chef salad with leafy green lettuce served with low-fat
mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, and a whole-wheat roll; oven-baked
sweet potato fries; fresh kiwi halves; raw vegetables (such as
broccoli or cherry tomatoes); and non-fat (or 1-percent) milk or
Click here for a look at a new school lunch and how it compares to a
typical lunch last year.
The regulations also put calorie caps on lunches
based on grade levels. Maximum calories per served lunch are: 650
calories for grades K-5; 700 calories for grades 6-8; and 850 calories
for grades 9-12.
Other important changes include:
Whole-grain bread, pasta, tortillas and rice
instead of white and refined starches;
Low-fat or fat-free milk, including chocolate;
Less saturated fats (fatty meats, ice cream,
whole milk cheese, etc.), trans fats (found in commercial baked
goods and fried foods such as French fries) and sodium (salt); and
Greater choice of healthy options.
The changes take officially take effect in
September, but district food service director Barbara Cristman began
experimenting with the menus last spring.
“We knew that were going to have to meet the
standards this fall, so we decided to trial some new menu items,” said
“By the end of the school year, we were already
serving whole wheat breads and rolls and were giving students a taste
of some new fruits and vegetables.”
The new lunch guidelines are just the first steps
in a three-year plan to phase-in the new standards. Changes to
breakfast meals and snacks served in school will happen over the next
First Lady Michelle Obama is promoting the Healthy,
Hunger Free Kids Act as part of her “Let’s Move!” health and wellness