Improving School Meals

New standards will improve the health and wellbeing of 32 million children nationwide.


| February 3, 2012



New standards take aim at making school meals more nutritious and heathful.

New standards take aim at making school meals more nutritious and heathful.

iStockphoto.com/Catherine Yeulet

FAIRFAX, Virginia — First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for students across the nation. The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million children who participate in school meal programs every school day. The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let's Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama.

"As parents, we try to prepare decent meals, limit how much junk food our kids eat, and ensure they have a reasonably balanced diet," First Lady Michelle Obama says. "And when we're putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria. When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won't be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home. We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables."

"Improving the quality of the school meals is a critical step in building a healthy future for our kids," Vilsack says. "When it comes to our children, we must do everything possible to provide them the nutrition they need to be healthy, active and ready to face the future – today we take an important step towards that goal."

The final standards make the same kinds of practical changes that many parents are already encouraging at home, including:

● Ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;

● Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods;





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