Minn. School’s Adjust To USDA Lunch Guidelines

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota schools are adjusting after the USDA issued new guidelines on the amount of fat and calories contained in snacks made available in lunchrooms.

The guidelines are related to the school lunch changes that went into effect last year that cut calories, fat and sodium on kids’ plates. They’ll now include snacks, sides, and everything else in school.

Jean Ronnei is director of Nutrition Services at St. Paul Schools.

“The calorie limits for snack items will be less than 200 calories and for entrees less than 350,” Ronnei said.

St. Paul already complies in most cases. Beverage machines only have water. Snack machines only turn on after school. Most snacks are healthy enough to fit the limits.

“It’s gonna eliminate double cheeseburgers and many of those types of things, but it does give still the opportunity to create some entrees that will be acceptable to kids,” Ronnei said.

When shown the list of good and bad snacks, parents reacted overwhelmingly positive. It’s music to the ears of an educator who hopes this school list becomes a true teachable moment.

“Switching from maybe items that are a little higher in fat or calories, or switching to whole grains, is something we can all do together to make a difference for our kids’ lives,” Ronnei said.

The new rules won’t go into effect for a year, giving schools time to figure out how to handle any lost revenue from selling healthier snacks and drinks.

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