Parents can weigh in on new USDA snack guidelines
If you’re tired of your efforts to keep your kids healthy being thwarted by the snacks served at school, you now have an opportunity to have your voice heard. New standards from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that children have access to healthy food options in school are now open to the public for comment.
The USDA took the first step in creating the national standards with its “Smart Snacks in School” proposal, which is to be published in the Federal Register later this week.
Proposal highlights include:
- Availability of healthy snack foods that have as their main ingredients whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, veggies or protein.
- Snack foods lower in fat, sugar and sodium that have a calorie limit of less than or equal to 200 calories per portion.
- Standards that take into account factors such as age group when considering beverage portion size and caffeine content. For middle schoolers, the appropriate size for drinks is up to 12-ounces while elementary schoolers are allowed up to 8-ounce portions. High school students are allowed 20-ounce servings or less for carbonated water (both flavored and unflavored) along with other no-calorie drinks.
- Standards that only affect foods sold on campus; foods sold at extra-curricular activity are excluded. For example, schools may sell beverages such as water, low- or no-fat milk and fruit/veggie juice.
The full text of the proposal is available here for review, and the public can provide feedback to www.regulations.gov for up to two months after it’s been published.
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