Friday, April 1, 2011

Making Changes to Stay on School Menus?

Courtesy of BNET

Because of the new USDA nutrition standards for school lunches, food companies such as Schwan, Tyson, and Simplot, (big names that produce pizza, chicken nuggets, and french fries for schools), are feeling the squeeze.

They needed to regroup and reformulate their offerings in order to meet guidelines and be able to stay on school lunch menus. Below are some changes:

Schwan’s new improved pizzas contain about 230 less mg of sodium, 8 less grams of fat, 100 less calories, and 51% more whole grain.

Tyson is adding whole grain to their breading and cutting sodium levels. They are also promoting chicken options that are not nugget-esque and also meet USDA guidelines like their dark meat strips with spicy orange sauce, which has 490 mg of sodium, 6 grams of fat, and about 220 calories per serving.

Simplot is having a little more trouble though. The USDA suggests kids should only consume one cup of starchy vegetables a week because on average, kids consume about two, mostly in the form of fries. They’re arguing that most fries served now are oven baked, and calorie count is around 80 to 100 per serving. The USDA is limiting how much of the starchy stuff can be offered for lunch.

The only drawback to less sodium, fat and calories is that there is a loophole-sugar. Though the other categories have been slashed, sugar levels go up a little bit.

OK, so the changes aren’t ground breaking, but they are changes. Looking at the bigger picture, less sodium, fat, and calories is still an improvement. But I still think kids are better off bringing their own lunches; that way, parents can have a say in what kids eat. Maybe if junior could pick carrots or grape tomatoes from the home garden themselves, they’ll be more prone to eagerly eating them when lunch time finally arrives.

Read the original article from bnet here.

1 comment:

Rebecca Kiel said...

My kids actually like packing their lunches and, for the time being at least, read labels looking for good key words like "organic" and then looking at protein, calcium and iron content. It's a game we play. My hope is that some of this will stick and they will have the habit formed of making healthy choices. Changing the schools sounds daunting to me. Teaching my kids is easy.