Rules Would Make School Snacks Healthier

WASHINGTON (February 1, 2013)--The government for the first time is proposing broad new standards to make school snacks healthier, banning the sale of almost all candy, high-calorie sports drinks and greasy foods on campus.

Under the new rules the Department of Agriculture proposed Friday, school vending machines once were full of Skittles and Sprite would instead offer water, lower-calorie sports drinks, diet sodas and baked chips.

Lunch rooms that now sell such fatty "a la carte" items as mozzarella sticks and nachos would have to transition to healthier pizzas, fruit cups and yogurt.

The rules, required under a child nutrition law passed by Congress in 2010, are an effort to combat childhood obesity.

While many schools have already made improvements, others are still selling high-fat, high-calorie foods.

The rules wouldn't apply to fundraisers, after-school concession stands, class parties or foods brought from home.

Most every food sold in school would be subject to fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits.

Snack foods would have to have less than 200 calories and some nutritional value.

All drinks would be limited to 12 oz. portions in high schools and middle schools, and 8 oz. portions in elementary schools.

What’s In

Baked potato chips
Granola bars
Cereal bars
Trail mix
Dried fruits
Fruit cups
Whole grain-rich muffins
100 percent juice drinks
Diet soda (high schools)
Flavored water (high schools)
Lower-calorie sports drinks (high schools)
Unsweetened or diet iced teas (high schools)
100 percent juice popsicles
Baked lower-fat French fries
Healthier pizzas with whole grain crust
Lean hamburgers with whole-wheat buns

What’s Out

Snack cakes
Most cookies
High calorie sodas
Many high-calorie sports drinks
Juice drinks that are not 100 percent juice
Most ice cream and ice cream treats
Greasy pizza and other fried, high-fat foods in the lunchroom

(Source: USDA)

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