Melissa Mellor

Making School Meals Better

What better topic to blog about the day before Thanksgiving than food? Specifically, the food served in schools across the country.

The Institute of Medicine recently released a report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children, that outlines recommendations for making our school meals more healthful. The recommendations include

  • Increasing the amount and variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Setting minimum and maximum levels of calories.
  • Focusing more on reducing saturated fat and sodium.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that progress was made during the last several years in increasing the percentage of secondary schools in which students cannot purchase unhealthy foods and beverages from vending machines or school stores. This progress, however, varies greatly among the states. For example, although students couldn't purchase candy and salty snacks in more than 80 percent of schools in Connecticut, Hawaii, and Maine last school year, that was true in only 18 percent of Utah's schools.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently said that schools that serve more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to students should experience higher rates of federal support than schools serving less healthy options. He also said more attention needs to be paid to the nutritional value of food served in school stores and a la carte lines.

Check out ASCD's recent testimony on child nutrition programs and let us know what you think about the quality of the meals served at your school.  

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