School meals to feature less salt this year

Moore County schools works to reduce salt without sacrificing taste.

SOUTHERN PINES, S.C.—The debate between “good tasting” and “good for you” will be in full swing this fall in Moore County school cafeterias.

Those who plan and prepare school meals are dealing with new guidelines this year that limit the amount of salt in meals, which means a challenge when it comes to making school lunches kids will actually eat.

Moore County Child Nutrition Director Amanda Cagle said the federally mandated regulation to lower the sodium content of school meals by 10 percent, creates a challenge when school cafeterias must compete against the high fat and sodium-laced fast foods that many students prefer.

"Adjusting sodium levels in school foods has been underway for about 10 years as the federal government has gradually lowered the amount," Cagle said. "The federal regulations to lower sodium levels by another 10 percent took effect July 1, 2014, but we were proactive and began implementation during the last school year.“

Congress passed the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act in 1994, in which new regulations issued an update of nutrition standards for school meals to make them consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.