Government Bans Junk Food, High Calorie Drinks from Schools
For years, school lunches have been criticized for their lack of nutrients and high amount of sugar and salt. But now, everything may change.
The Agriculture Department on Thursday said it would implement new rules regarding school lunches, requiring all foods sold in the nation's schools to be monitored for healthfulness.
Things like high-calorie sports drinks and candy bars will be removed from vending machines and cafeteria lines. These will be replaced by diet drinks, granola bars and other healthy items.
These rules were first proposed in February, but were made final this week. Changes will take place during the next school year. The rules also allow states to regulate student bake sales.
The changes are part of a child nutrition law passed by Congress in 2010 as part of the governments effort to combat childhood obesity.
Many schools have already started making healthful changes to the food they offer, but some have still allowed students to purchase junk food at vending machines on campus. Many also have "a la carte" lines that sell unhealthy foods like mozzarella sticks and nachos.
But these new rules will regulate all food sold at schools, even the ones in vending machines. The biggest change may be the ban of all high-calorie drinks.
Now, only high schools will be allowed to sell sports drinks and sodas, and those drinks must be 60 calories or less in a 12-ounce serving.
Fortunately, many of the largest drink manufacturers already have low-calorie options, including Gatorade's G2 and Coca-Cola's Diet Coke and other diet beverages.
For elementary and junior high students, only water, carbonated water, 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, low fat and fat-free milk, and nonfat flavored milks will be sold.