School Lunches: Sandwiches No Longer Fail USDA Test

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Recognizing that certain restrictions on school lunches were too stringent, the United States Department of Agriculture (or, USDA) has eased limitations, allowing for a wider array of foods to be served during the school day that still meet nutritional standards. The change makes a temporary rule to a provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 permanent. Originally, the law altered both the nutritional requirements of meals served by schools, and the structure of federal reimbursement. A six cent per lunch served reimbursement was offered to schools who complied with the new nutritional standards.

The guidelines set out by the USDA had maximum protein, and grain allowances, which schools often had a difficult time maintaining. In explaining the rule change, the USDA stated that this was one of the most frequent concerns. There were also reports that schools, and the school food authorities were “experiencing challenges with student acceptability of new items and smaller servings of items on their menus.”

As a result of the restrictions, meals that previously would have been considered healthy — such as a chicken sandwich with whole wheat bread — would have to be taken off the menu because it surpassed allotted weekly values.

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