New meal regulations go into effect for schools

More whole grains and increased fruits and vegetables are now required in school meal programs.

July 5—At least 50 percent of the grains served in U.S. public school lunches must now be whole grains, according to legislation that went into effect Sunday (July 1). In fact, school lunches are in the midst of a makeover — real fruit is replacing frozen fruit bars, pizza is being made with whole wheat crust and sweet potato fries are being substituted for tater tots — all part of an effort aimed at lowering rates of childhood obesity.

The changes to school lunch menus grew out of a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, and were passed as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which became law in January. Implementation of the changes, which include limits on fat and salt and heftier servings of fruits and veggies, will continue into 2014.