The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a proposed rule last week that would dramatically change nutrition guidelines for school lunches.
The rule hews closely to recommendations released in 2009 by the Institute of Medicine, a Washington-based policy group that the USDA solicited for its opinion on the dietary guidelines for school food. Among its recommendations were to increase fruit and vegetables offerings, limit milk to low-fat or fat-free, introduce more whole grains, reduce sodium, and establish minimum and maximum calorie levels for meals.
Many of the changes have been recommended for some time, but the proposed rules would mandate certain changes for school meals. For example, while schools are encouraged to incorporate whole grains into meals, the proposed rule would require that at least half the grains in each school meal be whole, as opposed to refined.
The USDA is accepting comments on the proposed rule through April 13.
A version of this article appeared in the January 19, 2011 edition of Education Week as New Standards Proposed for School Lunches