Exclusive: USDA to Announce Healthier New School Lunch Guidelines

Taken from ABCNews/Health

Later today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will announce the first new school lunch guidelines in 15 years.

In that time, childhood obesity rates in this country have risen yet more.

The Academy for Global Citizenship, a school in Chicago, is one of about a thousand schools that have already adopted the food of the future.

“We serve only whole grains and fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. Things like quinoa, as you mentioned, and kamut and millet,” said Sarah Elizabeth Ippel founder and Executive Director of the school. “Positive nutrition is essential and a very integral component to effective learning.”

Here’s an example of a current school lunch:

Breaded beef patty on a roll
Fruit popsicle
Low-fat milk

And here’s what a meal might look like under the new rules:

Baked fish nuggets
Whole wheat roll
Mashed potatoes
Broccoli
Peaches
Skim milk

“The more we can reinforce the right set of choices and encourage the right set of choices, the greater the chances are that we will get a handle on obesity,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told “Good Morning America.”

The underlying requirements are based on an Institute of Medicine study: reduce saturated fat, sugar and sodium. Increase whole grains. Serve both fruits and vegetables daily. And, for the first time, set maximum calorie counts in addition to minimum ones.

“This doesn’t mean that we are going to eliminate treats, not at all. But it is a circumstance, situation where treats have a special meaning, a special occasion, a special circumstance that we celebrate with a treat,” Vilsack added.

Children consume more than half of their calories at school.

“Schools are supposed to set an example of many, many values of society and one of them ought to be eating well,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at NYU and the author of “What to Eat”. “The schools that I’ve been in that have the best school lunch programs work with the kids very closely on how the foods taste, get the kids involved in cooking, talk about where the food comes from and make the school lunch program part of the whole educational program. ”

The Academy for Global Citizenship is a public charter school that serves school meals that already meet these new USDA standards.

To continue reading, click HERE.

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