EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 17, 2013

More food goes to waste under new guidelines

Students throwing out fruit, vegetables

(Continued)

“White to wheat? That’s fine, but I don’t think it’s enough,” Nguyn said.

Vespa worked last spring to have a new menu in place for the start of this school year, sampling different kinds of foods with whole grains and low fat cheeses and pricing fruit and vegetables from local vendors.

Several favorite items remained on the menu, such as pizza and burgers, Vespa said, but the buns were swapped out with whole grain buns and the cheese was replaced with low-fat cheese. The grammar schools use only whole grain breads, and the high school, which this year is about half-and-half white and wheat breads, will follow next year.

The schools must serve four ounces of fresh fruit or vegetables on each tray, and must offer another four ounces if the students want.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in February 2012 completed new nutritional guidelines for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program that took effect in September and were designed to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity. Those new guidelines, the first in 15 years, set a range for calorie intake, and limited the proportion of calories from fat in food served for breakfast or for lunch.

The regulations also limited the amount of sodium in food offered, required at least one serving of fruits and of vegetables per meal and allowed only nonfat or low-fat milk.

Massachusetts in 2011 created its own school nutrition guidelines that generally followed the federal government’s policies, but also included removing junk food and sugary drinks from vending machines and not allowing any kind of food sale fundraisers on school campuses during school hours.

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