School Lunch Menus

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Every day in school cafeterias across the country, students are choosing healthier options. According to the revised lunch menus, instead of a breaded beef patty with ketchup, a frozen fruit ice pop, and whole milk, students can now select a chef salad with grilled chicken, low-fat mozzarella, accompanied by a whole-wheat soft pretzel and low-fat chocolate milk. These new offerings are the result of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,” (HHFK) which provides $4.5 billion in new funding for the federal school lunch program. In order to receive this funding, school districts must offer menus that meet certain nutritional standards. These federally-mandated nutritional standards for school lunch menus will create a healthier generation…show more content…
The standards, which went into effect on July 1, 2014, now require at least one serving of fresh fruit and one serving of vegetables to be served. Grain servings must now consist of more than 50 percent whole grains, leading to such menu choices as whole-grain pastas, bread, rolls and pizza crusts. (“School Cafeteria Favorites Could Disappear as Food Rules Take Hold”). This is just the beginning, however, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requiring sodium levels to be reduced by 2017. This increase in whole-grains, fruits and vegetables and reduction in sodium are more in line with recommendations from healthcare professionals, who were concerned about the amount of calories and fat previously found in school lunch menus. According to the article, “Cafeteria Wars,” a decrease in funding for school lunches under President Reagan in the 1980s led to an increase in the use of cheaper, processed foods in schools. As a result of these changes, many fast-food companies, such as Taco Bell and McDonald’s began selling their products to…show more content…
Since the first “National School Lunch Act” was passed in 1946, the federal government has provided funding to ensure children had access to healthy, low-cost meals. Despite the objections from the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and some members of Congress, the USDA reports that “schools have come a long way toward providing healthy meals as now more than 90 percent of schools are meeting the standards” (“School Cafeteria Favorites”). Students are also beginning to realize the standards are beneficial. According to fifth grader, Cree Crook, “She knows to get tomatoes and lettuce in her taco salad and she’s learned to like green beans. . . my mom and dad want me to have four vegetables and fruit (every day).” The goal of these nutritional standards is being met and school children across the country are making healthier choices as a

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