On January 25, 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama was joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at a Washington, DC metropolitan area elementary school to unveil the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s revised nutrition standards for school lunches. The standards for school meals include the first major changes in school meals in more than 15 years and are intended to improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids who participate in school meal programs every school day.
The updated meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed by Congress in 2010, which was supported by the First Lady as part of her Let’s Move! Campaign and signed into law by President Obama. Some of the changes include:
- Ensuring that children are offered a variety of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables every day of the week
- Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods
- Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties
- Making sure kids are getting proper portion sizes
The final nutrition standards will be phased in over a three-year period, starting in school year 2012-2013.