Here’s big news for little ones: For the first time in more than 30 years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made major reforms to its national school lunch and breakfast programs. It all begins with the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which was championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to improve children’s fitness and eating habits.
The reforms improve the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which operates in over 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions, and provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free lunches to nearly 32 million kids.
Updated standards and guidelines increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on school menus while new dietary specifications set specific calorie limits to ensure age-appropriate meals. Other enhancements include the gradual reduction of sodium content in meals served in schools.
In addition, Team Nutrition, an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, will provide schools with technical training and assistance to help food service staffs prepare healthful meals. The staffs will also receive nutrition education to pass along to kids to help them understand the link between diet and health.
You can follow the same practical dietary guidelines of the reforms at home. Here’s how:
Ensure your kids have plenty of fruits and vegetables available to them every day of the week
Be sure your menus regularly include whole grain-rich foods
Offer only low-fat or fat-free milk varieties
Limit calorie intake to the recommended daily allowance appropriate for the age of your child
Focus on reducing consumption of foods with high saturated fat and sodium content
For more information about the National School Lunch Program and the changes being implemented by the USDA, visit www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch
Tyson® Brings More to the Table with Healthier Foods for Schools
To stay committed to a healthier lifestyle, you also need to be committed to eating healthfully. This includes monitoring intakes of sodium, trans fats, and calories, and making smart choices like lean protein lunch meats and whole grains. In compliance with the new school nutrition standards, Tyson has taken an active approach and made every effort to ensure that its new food options align with strict USDA guidelines. As a mom, you can feel confident that your child will have school lunches that are tasty, but with less fat, sodium, and calories. Try low soduim beef patties, fillets, nuggets, and pepperoni.
To learn more about Tyson’s commitment to helping provide nutritionally balanced school meals and raising a healthier generation of children, visit TysonFoodService.com/K12