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Kids pick up healthy snacks at a school cafeteria. Kids pick up healthy snacks at a school cafeteria. (Baerbel Schmidt / Stone / Getty Images)

New Rules for School Lunches

New law promotes healthier choices in school lunch lines

By Zach Jones | null null , null

As America's students get ready to head back to school, government officials are working to create new menus for school cafeterias. Last week, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to raise health standards for food sold at school.

The bill requires that schools offer healthier options for lunch and sell less candy and sugary sodas in vending machines. More-specific food restrictions and recommendations will be issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What does a healthier lunch look like? Don't worry—you can still get a slice of pizza at the cafeteria. But schools will likely serve a smaller portion, for example, and use more-nutritional ingredients, like whole-wheat flour or low-fat cheese.

By helping to update the Child Nutrition Act, First Lady Michelle Obama has met a big goal in her campaign to reduce childhood obesity and encourage a healthier diet for kids. Democrats and Republicans came together to write the bill, and even snack and soda companies supported putting healthier food in schools.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass a similar bill soon. The two proposals will then have to be combined so President Obama can sign the final bill into law.

"The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will finally put us on a path toward improving the health of the next generation of Americans," says Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas. "This is a resounding victory for our nation's children and an investment that will last a lifetime."

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