The School Nutrition Association’s (SNA)
“State of School Nutrition 2009” survey of more than 1,200 school districts
The School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) “State of School Nutrition 2009” survey of more than 1,200 school districts across the country found that nearly every school district offers students fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and salad bars or pre-packaged salads. Most schools still bake items from scratch in their kitchens, and school districts are offering more vegetarian meals and locally sourced foods. School nutrition programs have reformulated kid favorites to make them healthy, like pizza prepared with whole wheat flour, low-fat cheese and low-sodium sauce.
Under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, school meals must contain no more than 30 percent of calories from fat and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. School lunches must provide 1/3 of Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, and they must be served in age-appropriate portion sizes.
"School nutrition professionals must satisfy taste preferences and regional or cultural food influences to provide meals within nutrition guidelines that will be consumed by the students. Working within those guidelines and limited budgets, districts strive to provide a balance of fresh and homemade foods alongside nutritious pre-prepared kid favorites. Whole grain chicken nuggets that are baked at schools are not the same product served at most homes and restaurants," said School Nutrition Association president Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS and Executive Director of Child Nutrition Services for Dallas ISD (Tex.), "Children are increasingly recognizing and enjoying scratch-made and natural foods at schools nationwide, much like those suggested by Jamie Oliver, but communities, schools and parents must work together to shift food influences, encourage a greater role for exercise and help students improve their health."
School nutrition programs are serving up more healthy foods.