School meals will have to offer fruits and vegetables to students every day under standards issued by the United States Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.
The meal programs, which feed about 32 million students in public and private schools, will have to reduce sodium, saturated fat and trans fats. Schools must also offer more whole grains as well as fat-free or low-fat milk varieties.
These standards go into effect July 1 and will be phased in over a three-year period, according to the USDA.
The new nutrition standards are largely based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, as part of efforts to curb childhood obesity. Recent numbers show that about 17% of children in the United States are obese.
Read the full story: "USDA issues new rules for school meals"
Arugula, radishes, kale, pomegranates, persimmons, figs and quince – these are just some of the varieties of produce tended by students at Burgess-Peterson Elementary school, an urban school on the east side of Atlanta.
When the garden started three years ago, students hadn't even heard of – much less grown and eaten – a lot of the food now grown on school grounds.
And yet on the day CNN visited the school, fifth-graders ate quiche made with fresh spinach from the school garden, and fourth-graders chomped happily on slices of persimmon, an unusual orange-colored fruit, harvested from the school's fruit orchard.
You'd be surprised, said fifth-grade teacher Megan Kiser, what foods students are willing to try if they grow it themselves.
The idea of a well-rounded school lunch may skip the "wellness" factor and skip straight to the "rounded" - in the form of pizza.
Congress unveiled its latest short-term $182 billion spending bill late Monday, which among the legislation, would deny funding to the new - and healthier - school meal nutrition standards the Department of Agriculture proposed earlier this year amid growing concerns of childhood obesity.
Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and these next two weeks, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. Catch up on past coverage and stay tuned for the live blog from our Secret Supper in Chicago on Wednesday night starting at 6:00 CT.
When you're all grown up and on your own and have lived a bit of life, it's easier to find peace with your weirdness. All those little and large things that set you apart as a child - your goofy-looking nose, talent for playing bassoon or obsession with the insides of small electronic devices - are what make you the gorgeous, fascinating, resilient adult you are today.
Back then, though, kids may not have been so kind. Conformity is key in formative years - it teaches us all to walk on the right, chew with our mouths closed and remain reasonably clothed in public places. But it can have a cruel edge if wielded by the callow.
Enter the elementary school lunchroom, where a break from the regimen of the day can often descend into food-flinging anarchy. PB&J or bologna sandwiches are the brown bag standard, and anything other than that is regarded as plain old freaky.
FoodCorps is sending passionate, dedicated service members to American communities hoping to revolutionize the way we eat.
Many of us have heard the statistics - about one-third of American adults and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years are obese. One in seven low-income, preschool-aged children are also considered as such.
These numbers can be overwhelming, and when faced with a stagnating economy, high unemployment and a deeply divided Congress, it’s hard to see a solution.
But in 2009, when President Obama signed the Kennedy Serve America Act into law, expanding the AmeriCorps program, one group of people saw the opportunity for change.
For a year, an anonymous blogger ate the same school lunches as her students at a Chicago, Illinois, elementary school.
From bagel dogs, yellowish meatloaf and chicken tenders, which she likened to "squirts of chicken foam," she ate the lumps on her orange school lunch tray. With spork in hand, her mission was to chronicle the $3 school lunches on her blog going by the pseudonym Mrs. Q. For a year, she shared her observations about the food and how it affected students.
No longer anonymous, Sarah Wu revealed her identity with the release of her new book, Fed Up With Lunch, which shares the title of her blog.
Read the full story: "Newly revealed lunch blogger hopes for better school nutrition"
When you're packing your kid's lunchbox in the morning, the ice pack is just as important as the fruit and the sandwich. And new research finds you might need more than one to keep your little one healthy.
Looking at the lunches of preschool age children, Texas researchers found that 98% of the time the food was not as cold or as hot as it should be for safe eating, even if packed in an insulated lunch box or stored in a hot thermos. This means your child may be more likely to come home with a stomach ache.
"This is a red flag. This means that the recommendations for food safety are not being followed," said Dr. Steve Abrams, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.
Read the full story: "Secret for a safe kid's lunch: Extra ice"
For young children in drought-stricken areas of Kenya, primary schools providing free lunchtime meals are operating as "life-saving centers" in communities where food is increasingly scarce.
But with schools due to close throughout August for the summer holidays, aid agencies warn this vital lifeline could be lost just when it is needed most.
"The situation is desperate," says Victor Koyi, National Director of the ChildFund aid agency in Kenya. "If schools close, children are put at ultimate risk, they are made vulnerable and the risk of death is, frankly, very real in those situations."
And it's happening on our own backyard as well. Read When school's out for summer, stomachs grumble and Hungry at the holidays
For many, summer means vacation, sports, camping or just time off to relax, but not for millions of kids living in poverty in the United States. There are few camps or beach trips for them, and sometimes not even three meals a day.
During the school year, public schools provide breakfast and lunch to millions of students in the United States. But when summer arrives, parents struggling to feed their children can no longer rely on those meals.
More than 21 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches at school. But in the summer, the number of kids participating in food programs drops to fewer than 3 million, despite efforts to raise awareness and increase community support, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
To help fill that gap, one community in suburban Atlanta is delivering food - and hope - in brown paper bags.
Read the full story: "Feeding kids when parents, schools can't"