Department has proposed new standards to ensure children have access to healthy food options in school.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools—beyond the federally supported school meals programs. The “Smart Snacks in School” proposed rule, to be published in the Federal Register, is the first step in the process to create national standards. The new proposed standards draw on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country and healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace.
Highlights of USDA’s proposals include promoting more foods with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients; including less unhealthy snack items; targeted standards that allow variation by age group for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content; and flexibility for important traditions, such as preserving the ability for parents to send in bagged lunches of their choosing or treats for activities such as birthday parties, holidays and other celebrations.