The following is a press release from the Beef Checkoff:
There has been a lot of discussion in the beef community about the new school lunch program requirements. The checkoff wants to take a second to share what we know in hopes that it might answer any questions you have.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated its meal patterns and nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to align them with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is required by law. The new meal patterns are also based on recommendations issued by leading public health experts from the Food and Nutrition Board, part of the Institute of Medicine.
Prior to the 2012-2013 school year, schools were given the flexibility to follow two different meal planning options-either a “Traditional Food-Based Approach” or an “Enhanced Food-Based Approach”. Under the new requirements, all schools will follow a single food-based menu planning approach, which uses narrower age/grade groups for menu planning and offers meals that meet specific calorie ranges for each grade/group. There will be a three-year administrative review to see how these new requirements are working.
These changes provide more choices and flexibility for schools, including the availability of more fruits and vegetables. These new meal patterns will be implemented starting with the 2012-2013 school year. The intent of these updated requirements is to provide nutrient-rich meals (high in nutrients, low in calories) that better meet the dietary needs of school children and protect their health. This is good news for nutrient-rich foods, like beef. In fact, in the final rule, USDA recognizes that “offering a meat/meat alternate as part of the school lunch supplies protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium to the diet of children and also teaches them to recognize the components of a healthy plate.”
Important to note: Beef continues to be an important part of a healthy diet for kids and essential component of healthy school meals.
The amount of meat/meat alternate required as part of the new school lunch plans are almost identical to previous requirements. You can read more here: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/
Source: Beef Checkoff
Posted by Haylie Shipp