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White House Celebrates National School Lunch Week

White House, SNA Join Forces for National School Lunch Week

This week is National School Lunch Week, and the School Nutrition Association and the White House are using this week to state their opinions and encourage students to eat healthy. 

The School Nutrition Association "praised cafeteria professionals for their hard word and creativity," said a press release, "and repeated assertions that many school districts cant afford the stricter guidelines called for under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and that large numbers of students are either not taking advantage of the 'healthier' meals, or throwing their food in the trash."

The SNA estimates that "new nutrition standards will force schools to absorb $1.2 billion in new food and labor costs this fiscal year," said the release. 

"SNA supports strong federal nutrition standards for school meals, including limits on calories and fat, mandates to offer students more fruits and vegetables, and reasonable sodium and whole grain requirements,” said the organization and added that it "is requesting commonsense flexibility under the rules to help students adjust to healthier meals and protect the financial stability of school meal programs.”

President Obama, the release said, noted in his proclamation that "30 million children depend on the program, and that for many, it's their only source of nutritious food." He pointed out, the release continued that "when he signed the 2010 Act, he was expanding access to healthy meals."

"Students now have more opportunities to eat healthy foods than ever before, including new options in vending machines and a la carte lines,” Obama said. “And first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative has brought communities, schools, and elected officials together to promote nutrition and healthy lifestyles and empower children to make healthy choices in school and at homes.”

The arguments, the press release said, "echo those two sides have made before Congress, which is weighing the SNA's request for changes in the nutrition requirements."

"Among other things, the SNA wants to be able to maintain the 2012 requirement that half of grains offered in school meals be whole grain rich, instead of requiring that all grains be whole grain rich," said the press release. "It also wants to be able to suspend further reductions in sodium levels until SNA believes scientific research supports such cuts. The group also wants to be able to offer, and not require, students to take a fruit or vegetable with meals, a move the organization says will reduce food waste."

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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