In 2010, The Hunger Free Kids Act directed the Department of Agriculture to change its standards for all food served in schools. On June 26, 2013, the government announced its Smart Snacks in School program for making snack food healthier for kids. This is the first real step in making school food a healthy choice for kids.
Omnipresent, empty calorie junk food snacks have become an urgent issue as the health of our children has really gone south:
- One third of U.S. kids are overweight or obese.
- Kids are at risk for pre-diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure even as kids.
What Smart Snacks in School Means
Vending machines will no longer be allowed to sell candy bars, high-fat chips, full calorie soft drinks and cookies. Healthy snacks will take their place. So starting in the 2013-2014 school year look for granola bars, peanuts, low-fat chips, flavored waters and juices.
Here are some of the Department of Agriculture’s new nutritional standards:
- Snacks must be 200 calories or less.
- School lunch entrees can be no more than 350 calories.
- No trans fats and limits of sugar and fat.
- Meals must include either a fruit, vegetable, dairy product or whole grain.
The goal is “real food” in schools. Companies will not be able to fortify snacks with cheap nutrients and fake sugars, call them healthy snacks and feed them to school-aged kids. Our kids are our future – a victory for them is a big victory for us all!