USDA announces school lunch changes - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

USDA announces school lunch changes

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Changes are coming to school lunch menus, again.

The Trump administration plans to roll back school meal nutritional requirements set by President Obama.

The Obama administration set rules on fat, sugar and sodium but the new administration says they’re too restrictive and costly.

The change means schools won’t have to cut the salt in meals yet and they can serve kids fewer whole grains.  They can serve 1% milk instead of the non-fat milk that’s now required.

Robin Darling is a registered dietitian at CHI Memorial.  She says she would like to hear more about the final plan before forming an opinion.

"It's gotten better than what it used to be. They don't do as many fried products, the fryers are out, they bake the items that are crispy so they've gotten rid of a lot of fat in the diet that way,” she told Channel 3.

But Darling says some items on the menu may still contain too much sodium.

“Part of where the school lunch program stands now is 1200 mg of sodium a day so it's slightly below the daily recommended intake.  It's still fairly high in sodium so that would be one of the concerns,” said Darling.

She urges parents to have conversations at home about healthy food choices.

“Any color you can put on the plate is a good thing. Trying to get away from higher sodium foods, canned foods, the processed foods and choose those that are low sodium or no added sodium are at least a better option are going in the right direction,” said Darling.

The new rules will take effect during the 2017-2018 school year.

Channel 3 checked with some local school districts.

Cleveland City Schools released the following statement:

“Yesterday a proclamation was signed by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue that has the potential to affect Cleveland City Schools meal programs.  As a member of the Southeast Tennessee Buying Group, Supervisor of School Nutrition Susan Miller, will be meeting with School Nutrition Supervisors from other systems in our region to determine how this will affect our purchasing of menu items.”

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