"An Apple a Day" has New Meaning Under School Lunch Law Changes

Are the changes to the school lunch program raising questions in your district? Ones like “Why are you forcing my kid to buy a vegetable?” Here’s a blurb you can use to explain the changes the federal government made to lunches inevery public school.


The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed by the federal government to improve the nutritional value of school lunches. Here are some of the changes you may have noticed here in the lunches at _______ district this fall, as a result of the new law.


1.      A price increase of ten cents

2.      Students must choose a fruit or a vegetable aspart of their meal in order to receive the meal price. Without the fruit/vegetable students will be charged ala carte pricing, which is higher.(Full meals are also reimbursed $.06 by the federal government and ala cartemeals are not.)

3.      More whole grain is required in bread products, but the total amount of grains per week must be reduced overall.

4.      The amount of protein allowed per week is reduced.

5.      All flavored milks must be fat free.


These changes have resulted in noticeably smaller portions. The reduced amount of grains and protein is supposed to be made up by additional fruits and vegetables. We recognize that these changes have raised questions, and we would be happy to answer any further questions you have on the new federal schoollunch regulations.


Here are the exact changes as specified by the Dept of Ed, if you would like to include more detail:

  • A single food group based menu pattern based on fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and meat alternates, milk
  • Use of 3 age/grade groups for menu planning – grades K thru 5, 6thru 8 and 9 thru 12
  • Minimum daily portion sizes and minimum weekly serving requirements for each food group must be offered
  • Require students to take ½ cup fruit or vegetable with every meal
  • Serve a variety of vegetables from each of these groups every week– dark green, red/orange, legumes, starchy and ‘all other’
  • Half of the grain items offered must be ‘whole grain rich’(contain at least 51% whole grain)
  • The number of servings of grain items and meat/meat alternates offered must be within the weekly ranges for each age/grade group
  • While a variety of milks must be offered at each meal, flavored milk can only be fat-free but unflavored milk can be fat-free or 1%
  • Average Calories per meal (averaged across week) must fall within defined ranges for each age/grade group
  • Average saturated fat content per meal (averaged across week) must be less than 10% of total Calories
  • No added trans fat or zero trans fat as shown on the nutrition panel
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