Forget about seeing potato chips, candy bars, glazed donuts, chocolate sandwich cookies and full-calorie soft drinks in school vending machines, a la carte menus and snack bars. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is replacing it all with healthy choices it calls “smart snacks.”
Beginning the 2014-2015 school year, students will have healthier snack options to choose from, including granola bars, peanuts, light popcorn, low-fat tortilla chips, fruit cups, low-fat chips and no-calorie flavored water.
These new changes are part of the government’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to offer students healthy choices on food while in school. With the help of the USDA, new nutrition standards are being set up on all food sold in schools.
New nutrition guidelines were already set for school lunches this past school year and breakfast regulations go into effect this fall.
Items sold at after school sporting events, fundraisers, bake sales and other activities are not currently regulated. Students may also bring in their own school lunch without regulation.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children,” commented Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. He also added: “Parents and schools work hard to give our youngsters the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong, and providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will support their great effort.”
The new standards seek to lower the amount of calories, fat, salt and sugar in school children’s diets.
[Source: United States Department of Agriculture]