Starting this year, schools across the country are implementing the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Most of the guidelines were finalized in January, so this fall is the first semester that schools receiving federal funding start serving different lunches.
Here's how the regulations break down:
- Calorie limits based on grade level.
- Eliminating trans fat and reducing saturated fat to 10 percent of total calories.
- Incorporating more whole grains. By 2014-15, all grains must be whole grain.
- Eliminating 2 percent and whole milk in favor of skim (flavored and unflavored) and 1 percent (only unflavored).
- Gradual reduction of sodium over a 10-year period.
- Serving fruit at every meal.
- Specific amounts vegetables to be served each week, including one serving of beans or legumes.
Previously, fruit and vegetables were "lumped together," Dean said, meaning you could serve two servings of fruit and meet the requirement. Now the guidelines are much more specific, and require certain portions of specific types of food.
For example, dark green vegetables (kale, broccoli, arugula, spinach) are a different serving than red-orange vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes) or even "other" vegetables (brussel sprouts, cauliflower). The district tries to include as many local options as possible, including carrots from Vanderweele Farms in Palmer and tortillas from Anchorage's Taco Loco.