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Health & Parenting

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New Rules for School Lunches

Healthier Food, Smaller Portions: But Still No Potato Limit

New School Lunch Rules continued...

These minimum requirements for vegetables and fruits are far lower than the recommended portions. For example, while the minimum vegetable requirement adds up to 3/4 of a cup for grades K-8, the recommended amount is 3 3/4 cups.

"Kids will get six-and-a-half more cups of fruits and vegetables than they did before," Vilsack said.

The cost of the new standards is expected to be $3.2 billion over the next five years.

There are new standards for school breakfasts, too, although schools will be given time to phase in the breakfast recommendations.

Although schools may phase in the new lunch recommendations over the coming year, Vilsack said that "several thousand schools" have already adopted the new school lunch plan.

Ray said school cooks would be getting new training, and get a chance to participate in healthy, tasty, and attractive recipe competitions. To start things off, Ray created a lunch menu served at the elementary school that served as a setting for today's announcement. That menu was:

  • Tacos with turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, Mexican brown rice, and whole-grain flat bread
  • Black bean and corn salad
  • Mixed fresh fruits
  • Low-fat or non-fat milk

The new school lunch rules aren't the end of the program. In coming months, the USDA will set new rules for vending machines on school campuses.

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