Get ready to hear your child rave about new, tastier food at school this year. Schools throughout the U.S. are changing their lunch and breakfast menus. The recently enacted Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is the first major change in school meals in 15 years and is designed to help raise a healthier generation of children.
The new school lunch regulations require that:
▪ Each student’s tray contains a serving of fruits and/or vegetables
▪ One-half of all grains are whole grains
▪ A minimum and maximum amount of protein is served each week
▪ A reduced number of calories per meal
▪ White milk must be skim or one percent, and all flavored milk must be skim
▪ Sodium levels of all entrees are reduced over time
Many schools in Dakota County are ahead of the game, having made similar changes over the past several years. The Smart Choices program, developed in 2009 through a partnership between the Dakota County Public Health department and school districts, aims to increase fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains and reduce fat and salt eaten by students. Schools in Dakota County have made significant changes in the type of food sold in the cafeteria and continue to work on vending machines and school stores as well as school policies covering fundraising and classroom celebrations.
Public Health also works with schools in the county to increase physical activity before, during and after the school day. A new grant from UCare Minnesota will help train school administrators and classroom teachers on how activity improves learning and fun ways to add it to the school day.
Ask your student about the healthy changes at school.
For More Information
▪ Smart Choices (Dakota County Public Health)
▪ Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (USDA)
▪ Packing a Healthy Brown Bag Lunch (About.com)