On the School Lunch Menu This Fall: More Fruit and Less Fat

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 2, 1996 | Go to article overview

On the School Lunch Menu This Fall: More Fruit and Less Fat


Byline: Mohr & Waller

We can probably thank the likes of Jim Fixx, Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda for catapulting at least a few Americans out of coach-potato mode. Heck, those early pioneers in sweat even convinced us granola and rice cakes taste good.

All than makes it hard to believe that no one has tinkered with the school lunch formula for half a century - until now.

Begun in 1946, the National Lunch Program started because some school children were impoverished and under-fed.

Children today are eating plenty, but not always the right foods. New federal guidelines that take effect in 1996-97 will reduce the amount of fat on school lunch trays.

The change follows a 1993 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that showed school lunches exceeded the recommended level of fat and saturated fat. Specifically, the average percentage of calories from fat was found to be 38 percent, compared with the goal of 30 percent.

"We want schools to introduce more fruits and more grains," U.S.D.A spokesman Lawrence Rudmann said.

Increases include boosting the daily amount of fruits and vegetables for students in kindergarten through sixth-grade from a 1/2-cup to 3/4-cup, with an additional 1/2-cup thrown in for the week.

For those same students, the weekly number of servings of grains and breads would increase from 8 to 12.

Students in grades seven through 12 would see their daily servings of fruits and vegetables increase from 3/4-cup to 1 cup, and weekly servings of breads and grains increase from 10 to 15.

"It is a major change," said Robyn Caruthers, spokeswoman for

Marriott Management Services, which provides school lunches to 350 school districts nationwide, including nine in Lake County.

Marriott started working on meeting the new nutritional guidelines after the legislation passed about a year ago, Caruthers said. …

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