The USDA announced new school lunch guidelines back in January. The new USDA guidelines would:
- Establish the first calorie limits for school meals.
- Gradually reduce the amount of sodium in the meals over 10 years, with the eventual goal of reducing sodium by more than half.
- Ban most trans fats.
- Require more servings of fruits and vegetables (including green leafy vegetables).
- Require all milk served to be low fat or nonfat, and require all flavored milks to be nonfat.
- Incrementally increase the amount of whole grains required, eventually requiring most grains to be whole grains.
- Improve school breakfasts by requiring schools to serve a grain and a protein, instead of one or the other. (Source and Source)
The new rules have also been published in the Federal Register. Right now we have an opportunity to submit feedback to the USDA during the comment period. If you would like to submit a comment about the new proposed rules, you only have until April 13th to do it. Here’s how:
1) Go to regulations.gov
You will notice that under “What’s Hot” (bottom left) the top two bills are related to child nutrition.
2) Click on one of the two options. I checked out this website a few days ago and there weren’t two options so I don’t know what kind of shenanigans have taken place…
The next screen is a text file of the proposed regulation. You can peruse it, but it’s very long.
3) Click on “Submit Comment”
This is where you tell them where you live and type your comment.
If you scroll down, notice that you can even upload a file. I could upload a picture of one of the school lunches I ate last year! Of course then I would out myself, but that would be super fun.
For the record, the School Nutrition Association has come out against the new rules for a variety of reasons. I think I agree with them on one count — where’s the money? Food costs are rising dramatically. New regulations without additional funds amount to unfunded mandates. I’m not a big fan of unfunded mandates in education.