August in Arizona brings out the school uniforms, book bags, back packs, and school supplies. Each year we all get lists of what kinds of pencils, crayons, and notebooks to send with our kids to school. But what about the food that we send with them, or the food that is offered to them as part of the School Lunch and Breakfast Program? We are lucky in Arizona that we have a very strong School Lunch and Breakfast program that meets National Nutrition guidelines.
Current standards include reducing sodium, eliminating trans-fat; decreasing saturated fat, minimizing fried foods and offering fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, seafood and low-fat dairy at each meal. Offering nutritious meals during the school day, where most of our children spend the majority their waking hours, is important step to decreasing the next generation’s risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies show that kids are now choosing healthier foods and are eating 16% more vegetables and 23% more fruit. Children who participate in the National School Lunch Program eat greater amounts of healthy foods, consume less sugar and calories, and have an overall better quality diet
While we are making progress, it is important to contact your Representative and Senators here to urge them to reject efforts to weaken federal guidelines for strong nutrition standards for school meals.