School Lunches Leaving Kids Hungry
As many schools kick off the 2012-2013 school year, there’s been some meaty discussion about new nationwide school lunch standards, the first changes in nearly 15 years.
There are new maximum requirements for the amount of protein and overall calorie content of school lunches. There have always been minimum requirements for calories, protein and other nutrients, but now the maximums, while potentially looking good on paper, really aren’t meeting the needs of particularly junior high and high school students that have a higher caloric requirement, especially for those that are active in after-school sports.
The meal requirements are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was passed by Congress two years ago.
The new standards include:
- Ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
- Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
- Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties;
- Limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and
- Increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.