In many schools, kids have access to snacks and beverages throughout the day from vending machines. Kids can also buy foods such as fries and cupcakes a la carte in the lunch line. But do kids really need fatty, sugary snacks available to them at all times?
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 directed the USDA to set nutrition guidelines for snacks sold in schools as well as breakfast and lunch. Earlier this year, the USDA submitted a set of guidelines for school snacks that resembled the guidelines for breakfast and lunch that went into effect at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. Some of the radical ideas include a requirement that the snack be “either a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food, a “whole-grain rich” grain product…, or a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit or vegetable.”
The largest benefit of improving school snacks is the impact on kids’ health. Unhealthy kids often grow up to be unhealthy adults. Selling healthy snacks reinforces health and nutrition education and also supports parents’ attempts to teach their kids healthy habits. The infographic below from the Kids Safe and Healthful Food Project puts it together nicely.
Apples photo via Shutterstock