Look for some changes in foods available for purchase at Durant Public Schools during the upcoming school year as the final stages of the national Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 takes effect in all federal school meal programs.
Objectives for the new federal act are to improve nutritional profile of all foods sold in school, improve diet and overall health of children, ensure all children adopt healthful eating habits and enabling them to live productive lives and help children make healthier choices to reduce risk of obesity.
Smart Snacks nutrition standards set by the National Food and Nutrition Service will be implemented throughout the school district. Those new national standards apply to foods outside school meal programs, on school campuses and during the school day. The focus is centered on promoting combination foods, which contain two or more components representing two or more of the recommended food groups: fruit, vegetable, dairy, protein or grains.
Beverages are also included in the Smart Snacks nutrition standards with water, milk and juice available at all levels. At the high school only beverages are allowed for sale if they include less than equal to 10 calories per 20 ounces. Those that don’t meet the criteria cannot be legally sold during school hours. The rule for smaller beverages is that it may not contain more than five calories per fluid ounce.
The new law also would pertain to any fundraiser food or drink item that would be consumed at school. Those fundraising items that will be consumed at home will still be allowed.
Culinary education programs in the schools would not be impacted by the Smart Snacks nutrition standards, nor would they have impact on foods sold to adults at any time or students outside of the school day.
All food items, including vending machines, sold to students anywhere on school campus during the school day is also subject to the Smart Snacks regulatory requirements. Vending machines will only be stocked with food and drink items which fall within the requirements. Smart Snacks standards do not apply to food given to students without the exchange of currency or food brought to school by the student for their own consumption.
There shouldn’t be much of a difference in foods available in each school cafeteria as Durant Public Schools were proactive in abiding by the new policy in those areas a year ago.
The school year for students at Durant schools begins on Thursday.