10/02/2012 - ''School lunches are getting an extreme makeover. Gone are fried tater tots, chicken nuggets, chocolate milk, and pepperoni pizza. In their place are heaps of whole grains, veggies, fruits, and low-fat dairy products, along with baked versions of formerly fried favorites such as chicken nuggets or fish sticks.
Students will also be seeing less salt and trans fats thanks to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. There are also calorie caps on the lunches: 650 for elementary school students, 700 for middle schoolers, and 850 for high school students.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rolled out the new school lunch menus at the start of the 2012-2013 school year for the 32 million students who take part in the National School Lunch and obesity programs. Previous school meal standards were developed 15 years ago and did not reflect current nutritional guidelines.
The menus are intended to help stamp out childhood and teen obesity in the U.S. As it stands, one in three kids in America is overweight or obese. And diseases linked to obesity that were once seen only in adults are now increasingly being diagnosed in kids. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
"If kids try before they buy, they may be more likely to give it a shot," says Jessica Donze Black, RD, MPH. She is the project director for the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project at the Pew Health Group.
“Big picture, this is a good idea,” Black says. Schools that saw the changes coming had already tweaked their menus and are not experiencing any resistance from students."
Read the full article, ''Let Them Eat Veggies: School Lunch Gets a Makeover,'' on the WebMD website.