Feds Crack Down on Junk Food in Schools

New rules call for 'real food' snacks: fruits, veggies, whole-grains

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 28, 2013 3:08 AM CDT | Updated Jun 28, 2013 5:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – School snacking is about to get a lot healthier. Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, treats like candy bars, fatty chips, and doughnuts won't be sold to kids during school hours; instead, they'll see choices like peanuts, granola bars, and fruit cups, USA Today reports. The new "Smart Snacks in Schools" program focuses on so-called "competitive foods"—snacks and other food outside of standard school lunches. "Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children," says agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack.

Among the competitive-food restrictions: All items have to be either fruits, veggies, dairy, protein, or rich in whole grains—or contain at least a quarter-cup fruits or vegetables. Snacks can't have more than 200 calories, while entrees are limited to 350, and no trans fat is allowed. The rules don't affect food brought from home or sold at after-school events. "Eventually all school foods will have to contain real food," says a consumer advocate. "It doesn’t make sense for schools to teach nutrition in the classroom, then counter it by selling sugary drinks and candy bars in vending machines in the hallway," she adds, per Businessweek.

Kids shouldn't expect candy bars and doughnuts during school hours.
Kids shouldn't expect candy bars and doughnuts during school hours.   (Shutterstock)
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