School lunches are always a hot topic, and it’s safe to say the convo around them will never fail to heat up. The latest in the school lunch saga are new proposed guidelines that aim to loosen the definitions of “fruit” and “vegetable,” among other suggestions, in an effort to reduce food waste.
“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals,” the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture claims changing what qualifies as a food in certain categories will help lower the chance of kids throwing away any food they don’t want to eat. Under the rules, the school’s nutrition professionals have more flexibility to serve meals that their students would prefer because they know them best.
The proposed guidelines would make some previously temporary rules permanent. For breakfast, potatoes and other starchy vegetables could be considered a replacement for fruit. For lunch, pasta made of vegetable flours could be considered a vegetable, even if it doesn’t have any other veggies in it. À la carte meals could also be affected by allowing students to choose pizza, burgers, and fries for lunch on more days of the school week.
Many ideas here! The proposed guidelines aren’t a done deal yet, and they seek public comment before finalizing them. Even if they are finalized, school districts are free to exceed them and continue to follow the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 from the Obama era. If you have some serious thoughts that you feel like sharing, do it here.