Better Food at School?
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, soggy chicken tenders, fries, and pizza have not entirely disappeared from school cuisine, but they seem to be fading. Last week, the USDA announced four new rules intended to seal the legacy of better food at school under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
With these rules, snacks sold at school will now have to meet the same evidence-based nutrition standards as school lunches and breakfasts. And in school districts with high poverty rates, kids will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch with no questions asked, cutting both paperwork and stigma for kids who need better access to healthful food.
Better food at school is a bright spot in the legacy of First Lady Michelle Obama’s agenda to tackle childhood obesity. Executive director Toni Liquori of School Food Focus explains:
Until this administration, school food was in the backwater. It wasn’t a concern to many people, but Michelle Obama made it hit center stage.
Today, the odds are improving for kids to get fresh, nutritious food at school. Farm to school programs are growing, fresh fruits and vegetables are on the menu, and parents’ expectations are rising.
The only notable pushback has come from the pizza lobby seeking to protect the business of selling that warmed-over cardboard to our kids at school. Some legislators are still looking for a way to roll back nutrition standards for them.
But it’s hard to argue with the value of providing decent food at school for our children.
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July 31, 2016