On January 25, First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released new nationwide standards to govern school lunch menus. With close to 32 million students on school-run lunch programs, this update to the nutrition standards of the meals (the first in over 15 years!) is a milestone. The new standards increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limit the number of calories in school lunches. There is also a focus on reducing saturated fats, transfats, and sodium, with only low-fat and non-fat milk now offered. Mrs Obama emphasized the importance of this change to the larger effort to improve childhood nutrition:
“For many kids whose families are struggling, school meals can be their main — or only — source of nutrition for the entire day. So when we serve higher-quality food in our schools, we’re not just fighting childhood obesity; we’re taking the important steps that are needed to fight child hunger as well.”
For more details, read the USDA press release.