Hello fruits and vegetables! “Junk food” banned from schools July 1

INDIANAPOLIS — School leaders are getting ready for a big change in school food service.

The USDA’s Smart Snacks in School rules go into effect July 1, 2014. In short, all “junk food” in vending machines, a la carte lunch, student stores and fundraisers such as bake sales will be banned July 1.

“I think that’s great!” said Betsy Hunsucker, a Brownsburg mother. “I think kids would love fruits and vegetables.”

Fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein-rich foods and whole grain-rich foods are allowed.

Water, milk and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juice is permitted. High school students can have caffeine and low-calorie carbonated drinks.

There are also rules when it comes to nutritional values like calories, sodium, sugar and fat.

“I’m afraid that parents have spoiled their children so much with the choices that they allow them to make at home that the kids will turn up their noses to the nutrition,” said Hunsucker.

Some schools, like Brownsburg, have already started. They have been compliant with grades K-5 since Christmas break, and have been slowly introducing older students to items like baked chips.

Katie Sherven, the director of food services for Brownsburg Schools, says they’re really excited about their plans to put a “garden bar” in all of their schools next year.

As for the possible impact on fundraising, Sherven says fortunately for them, many of their fundraisers do not revolve around food, like the Fun Run and Dog Jog.

She said she’s met with all Brownsburg principals about the guidelines for vending machines and any food-related sales.

Schools that don’t comply face hefty fines or loss of federal funding.

Not all parents think it’s a great idea.

“I like the way it’s done now because they have fast food one day a week,” said Vicki Masters. “They are in Plainfield and they have a lot of choice. They have things that they actually will eat so they do get food in them to go through their day. There are things they just won’t eat. They’d rather not eat than eat something they don’t like.”

The USDA guide on the rules is 54 pages long, but these are the basics:

Ingredient Rules
Any competitive food sold must be a:
a. Fruit
b. Vegetable
c. Dairy product
d. Protein-rich food (meat, beans, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds)
e. Whole-grain rich food (first ingredient is a whole grain or product is 50% whole grains
by weight)
f. Combo food that has at least ¼ cup fruit and/or vegetable
* Exception until July 1, 2016 – A food is allowed if it contains a minimum of 10% of
the Daily Value of calcium, potassium, Vitamin D or fiber
Nutrient Standards
All competitive foods must meet each of the following nutrient limits:
a. Calories
• Max 200 calories for snacks and sides
• Max 350 calories for entrees (outside the school lunch program)
b. Sugar
• Max 35% sugar by weight (some fruit exceptions)
c. Sodium
• Max 230mg sodium for snacks (200mg after July 1, 2016)
d. Fat
• Fat: Max 35% calories from fat (as packaged or served; some exceptions
for reduced fat cheese and nuts apply)
• Sat fat: Max 10% calories from fat (as packaged or served; some exceptions
for reduced fat cheese and nuts apply)
• Trans fat – 0g as served
Beverage Rules
All grade levels may sell:
a. Water or carbonated water; unflavored low-fat milk; flavored or unflavored fat-free
milk and soy alternatives; and 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Size limits: 8 oz for
elementary schools & 12 oz for middle and high schools.
b. High schools may also sell lower calorie flavored and/or carbonated beverages
that meet the following rules:
a. 5 calories per 8 fl oz, or 10 calories per 20 fl oz; and
b. 40 calories per 8 fl oz, or 60 calories per 12 fl oz.
c. Note: caffeine only permitted in high schools

If students have access to the teacher’s lounge, the same rules apply in the teacher’s lounge.

State agencies will monitor compliance.

You can find more information here and here.

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