Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.

In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.

That led food service directors to lobby the USDA to reverse the limits on the amount of grains, such as bread and pasta, and proteins, such as lean meat and cheese.

The USDA temporarily lifted the restrictions following many complaints. And, now, according to a new rule announced this week, the change will be made permanent.

The School Nutrition Association, a group made up of school food directors, is applauding the decision. The group says the overly restrictive limits on grains and protein worked against them.

For instance, some schools could not offer daily sandwich selections because the two slices of bread exceeded weekly grain limits. And in some cases, salads topped with low-fat cheese or other sources of lean protein exceeded protein limits.

"School Nutrition Association members are pleased that USDA has provided this permanent fix, acknowledging the need for greater flexibility in planning well balanced school meals," wrote SNA president Leah Schmidt in a press release about the announcement.

USDA says most schools are following the meal standards that were put in place in 2012. And, as we've reported, this means that there are lots more fruits and vegetables being served up a lunch time.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

What's A Writer Gotta Do To Get A Little Health Care Around Here?

When you're making plans to become a famous author, just remember that you're going to want health care — especially when 40 rolls around and your body is no longer made of rubber.
NPR

When Zero Doesn't Mean Zero: Trans Fats Linger In Food

One in 10 packaged foods still contains trans fats, according to a new study. The problematic oils give foods a rich taste and texture and extend shelf life, but have been linked to heart disease.
NPR

Rep. Ryan Calls For 'Culture Of Inclusion' To Tackle Poverty

Congressman and former Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan discusses his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.
NPR

New Amazon Series Pilots Fall Short Of A TV Revolution

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans ranks Amazon's new batch of five series pilots, asking why none of them seem break the rules of TV quite enough to draw attention.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.