What's for lunch in American schools? Recently updated school meal standards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture call on schools to offer more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and to serve only fat-free and low-fat milk. Several recent announcements show that schools across the country are finding success serving healthier meals.
At the eighth annual Healthy Schools Program Forum, President Bill Clinton recognized 267 schools for becoming healthier places for students and staff. The Healthy Schools Program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, announced that all recognized schools, along with thousands more participating in the program, had met the updated meal standards.
Ninety-four percent of U.S. school districts expected to meet updated federal nutrition standards for lunches by the end of the 2012-13 academic year, according to a national survey commissioned by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. However, many school districts say that their current kitchen equipment and infrastructure limit their ability to do so and that food service staff need more training as they work to implement the guidelines.Read the press release
More on School Meals
The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project also talked to school districts across the country about bringing healthier meals into school. From introducing garden bars, to collaborating with local farmers and incorporating nutrition into lesson plans, these districts found creative ways to change their menus.Read more
Researchers recently found that students who received free or reduced-price lunches—who tend to be from lower-income families—had higher obesity rates than those who did not participate in the lunch program, but the gap was much smaller in states with strong meal standards.Read more