Tags: smart | snacks | school | usda

Smart Snacks in School Coming Soon: USDA Sets New Healthier Rules

Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 07:38 PM

By Teresa Meek

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Schools will offer less junk food and more whole foods under rules set by the The U.S. Department of Agriculture. The standards represent the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in more than 30 years, CNN Health reports.

The “Smart Snacks in School” rules are a result of the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which began with an overhaul of the school lunch program in 2012. The act requires the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all food sold in schools.

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“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children," said Secretary Vilsack in a USDA press release. "Parents and schools work hard to give our youngsters the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong, and providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will support their great efforts."

The rules, designed to fight both child hunger and obesity, require schools to serve more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.

Snacks play a major role in children’s diets. Between 1977 and 1996, the number of calories that children consumed from snacks increased by 120 calories per day, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported.

Most of the snacks served to children should be fruits and vegetables, since most kids do not eat the recommended five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, the CSPI said. Fruits and vegetables lower the risk of heart disease and other diseases and contain important nutrients and fiber.

Some kids are saying, "Thanks, Uncle Sam, but we’re still hungry."

Three students at Milnor School in North Dakota — Wyatt Mund, Andrew Martinson, and Colin Yagow — created a video last year for Michelle Obama, who has campaigned extensively against childhood obesity. The video, titled “First Lady that I Used to Know,” parodies a hit song by Gotye and features kids holding placards reading “I’m hungry” and Michelle Obama holding one reading “Eat Ice!”

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Related stories:

USDA: Brownies Out, Fruit Cups in School Vending Machines

Gov't Orders Schools to Oust Junk Food

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