by John Rosales/photos courtesy of Fairfax County Public Schools
New standards for school meals released on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help ensure healthy nutritious food is served to every public school student in an effort to bolster their health and academic success. This effort was kicked-off with an appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, where she joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to unveil the new standards for school meals.
The new federal guidelines are designed to help schools ensure that students are offered fruits and vegetables daily while increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods. Proper portion sizes and servings of fat-free or low-fat milk varieties are also included in the meal requirements, which are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
The legislation was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let’s Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama.
“As parents, we try to prepare decent meals, limit how much junk food our kids eat, and ensure they have a reasonably balanced diet,” said Mrs. Obama. “And when we’re putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the new requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than 15 years and improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids who participate in school meal programs every school day.
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