The rules - which come into effect next summer - apply to the 100,000+ elementary, middle and high schools that accept assistance from the National School Lunch Program.
They stipulate that all foods sold in school must be a ‘whole grain-rich’ grain product; OR have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; OR be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; OR contain 10% of the DV of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber.
- Snacks: ≤ 200 calories
- Entrées: ≤ 350 calories
- Snacks: ≤ 230 mg**
- Entrées: ≤ 480 mg
- Total fat: ≤35% of calories
- Saturated fat: < 10% of calories
- Trans fat: 0g
- ≤ 35% of weight from total sugars in foods
Water, low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice…
As for beverages, any school may sell plain water (with or without carbonation), unflavored low fat milk, unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives permitted by NSLP/SBP, 100% fruit or veg juice and 100% fruit or veg juice diluted with water (with or without carbonation), and no added sweeteners.
Elementary schools may sell up to 8oz portions, while middle schools and high schools may sell up to 12oz portions of milk and juice.
The standards also allow additional diet and low calorie beverages for high school students.
The rules do not apply to foods brought to school
The rules do not apply to foods brought to school in bagged lunches, or for birthday parties, or to food sold during non-school hours, off-campus fundraising events, sporting events or school plays. They only affect foods that are sold on school campuses during the school day.
CSPI: Companies won't be able to just fortify snacks with cheap nutrients to qualify them as healthy
The rules were welcomed as a significant step toward improving childhood nutrition by stakeholders from the American Heart Association to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, while USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack called them a “game changer for our youngsters.”
CSPI Director of Nutrition Policy Margo Wootan noted that “after a phase-in period, companies won't be able to just fortify snacks with cheap nutrients to qualify them as healthy; all school foods will have to contain food―some fruit, vegetables, whole grains, or another healthy food component.”
Click here to read the new rules in full.
Click here to read our interview with H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending founder Sean Kelly.