School Lunch Nutrition: What You Need to Know (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 10, 2009

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report in 2003 titled, “School Lunch Program: Efforts Needed to Improve Nutrition and Encourage Healthy Eating.” The GAO’s findings in 2003 were that though schools were moving toward meeting school lunch nutrition requirements, they did not meet the required 30 percent limit for calories from fat. The GAO reported that officials said they run the risk that students will buy fewer school lunches when they introduce healthier foods, resulting in loss of needed revenue.

But schools are not the ones to blame, Levin says. “The schools are set up for failure. You have to be an incredibly creative person to work within the system and get healthy school lunches out there.”

How can you ensure your children are eating healthily at school? Get involved in the schools. Talk to the principals, food service directors, and superintendent. Petition to get rid of vending machines. Solicit help from national organizations like the School Nutrition Association and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Or, choose to work at the federal level and change what the schools are getting. Get a petition going and take it to your representative; let him or her know that this is the number of people in the district who want to see a change.

For inspiration, visit The Edible Schoolyard’s web site: The Edible Schoolyard is a one-acre garden and kitchen classroom at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California. Each student at the school attends 12 to 30 sessions in the kitchen and garden classrooms, depending on grade level, and the program hosts over 1,000 visitors each year and has inspired countless kitchen and garden programs.

For more information about the National School Lunch Program, visit the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Web site:

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