School Lunch (Finally) Gets a MakeoverPosted on Feb 2nd 2011 3:00PM by Lisa Johnson
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
The major changes include:
- Age-appropriate calories and sodium. A first grader won't be eating a day's worth of sodium intended for a high school student.
- Only low-fat and skim milk in cafeterias. Chocolate milk must be skim.
- Fewer starchy vegetables. You'll see fewer potatoes and less corn, more salads.
- Trans fats will be reduced to 0 grams per serving.
All of this is part of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, which included revamping the school lunch programs so that kids would have more energy throughout the day to learn -- not to mention cut down on the childhood obesity epidemic.
On NBC's "Today" Show, Matt Lauer took a look at what some of those changes could mean for actual lunches. "Eat This Not That!" author David Zinczenko told Lauer that pepperoni French bread pizza had 19 grams of fat, the equivalent of 10 Burger King chicken tenders.
A seemingly harmless grilled cheese? It had 350 calories and the fat content was the same as two Wendy's junior cheeseburgers. Instead Zinczenko said a bowl of chili cut the calories and fat, while providing far more fiber.
The changes will certainly mean fewer fried foods overall, but there was one swap Lauer was particularly excited about. A small serving of french fries has 310 calories and 19 grams of fat. Baked tater tots, however, come in at only 150 calories and 7 grams of fat. "Little cake-shaped pieces of heaven!" Lauer exclaimed. "Tater tots. Yes!"
Check out the "Today" show segment. Story continues after the video.
Jamie Oliver has also railed against the school lunch program in his show "Food Revolution," which is now filming a second season in Los Angeles.
For more information, see the USDA School Lunch program page.
It's good to see changes coming, especially to our kids. Adults, is it time for you to revamp your lunch? Maybe a little less pizza and a little more salad?