New federal rules will require healthier snacks in schools

New Federal Rules Require Healthier School Snacks

The government for the first time is proposing broad new standards to make sure all foods sold in schools are healthy according to Huffington Post.

According to CNN, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards represent the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in more than 30 years

The new federal rule announced Thursday will apply to “a la carte” lines in school cafeterias, vending machines, snack bars and any other food sold regularly on campus.

Huffington Post reported that “Under the new rules, most food sold in school will now be subject to fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits.

“Snack foods will have to be less than 200 calories and have some nutritional value.”

Both food and beverages will be under the microscope when it comes to vending machine and snack bars during school hours.

The new regulations will set limits on salt, sugar, and more. CNN reported the following:

“School foods must contain at least 50% whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient.

“Foods that contain at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetables will also be allowed.

“Sports drinks, which contain relatively high amounts of sugar, are prohibited.

“Low-fat and fat-free milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juice, and no-calorie flavored waters are permitted.

“Potable water must be made available to kids for free where meals are served.”

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement:

“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children.

“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 efforts.”

The rules are a result of the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which requires the USDA to improve food served in schools.

These efforts are to help with the issue of childhood obesity.

Schools and food and beverage companies must meet these standards by July 1, 2014, according to the USDA, which means the new rules would be in effect for the 2014-2015 school year.

[Image by Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian]