The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed by a bipartisan congress in late 2010. The Act recognized that foods and beverages sold in schools were generally of poor quality and changed the requirements for school meals and for the school environment in which the meals are served.
Students will now be having a daily serving of fruits and vegetables along with healthier and less sugar options for lunch. The new meal patterns are higher in nutrients and lower in calories. As the new regulations phase in we will be trying to phase in beans and legumes, red, orange, and green vegetables and less starchy vegetables.
The goal of education in Utah is to provide our children with high quality instruction which will ensure literacy and numeracy. Our curriculum has high standards and our assessment is rigorous and provides accountability. We all know that hungry children have difficulty learning the materials presented in the classroom. The Act recognizes this and sets standards which will improve school meals served on the campus and will help ensure our children are ready to learn.
To comply with the Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act, it is important to discuss why changes are being made in school meals. Most of us are aware of the statistics showing school populations have a high incidence of obese, overweight and inactive children. Poor diets and health problems have significant medical and social costs. Additionally, hunger and food insecurity continues to be a problem in some families in Utah. The Institute of Medicine made recommendations for healthier school environments, which were adopted by Congress in the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act.
Starting in the fall of 2012, school meals will include more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These guidelines have a high and a low limit set on each grade level for grains, calories, and other items. The Act recognizes the school environment must support healthy behavior. Every school food authority or ‘SFA’ who has agreed to participate in the federal school meals program must have a wellness policy. The requirements state the policy must be developed by a team of school nutrition staff, administrators, teachers, including physical education. School meals are a major source of nutrition for many of our state’s children particularly those in low-income families that are at highest risk for inadequate nutrient intake. It is crucial that we provide meals that can address both hunger and obesity.
The link between healthy eating and the increased capacity for learning is well established.
The new standards align school meals with the latest nutrition science. Coupled with strong wellness policies in all SFAs, these new standards will help assure all Utah children are ready to learn. The new lunch price increase will ensure your students have healthy options at lunch. The Morgan School District appreciates your participation in the National School Lunch Program.