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Michelle Obama Announces New School Lunch Standards

Scott Olson, Getty Images

The nation’s first lady and the agriculture secretary have announced changes to what children will receive for meals at school.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack introduced new standards for school meals Wednesday morning. The new meal requirements are part of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” which was heavily supported by Ms. Obama.

A press release from the USDA outlines some of the changes, which include:

  • Ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
  • Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
  • Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk;
  • Limiting calories based on the age of children being served with controlled portion sizes;
  • Increasing focus on reducing amounts of saturated fat, trans fats, and sodium.

Implementing the standards is expected to cost about 3.2 billion over the next five years.

Other portions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act include further regulating food and drink sold in vending machines on school campuses, increasing funding for schools 6 cents per meal, setting new pricing standards, as well as more training and assistance for school employees on the program.

Schools will phase in the new regulations over a three-year period, beginning in the 2012-2013 school year.

“When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won’t be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home,” said Ms. Obama.

A sample menu which lists examples of lunches served prior to the new standards, and what will be served after implementing the new regulations is available here.

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