There are better meals in school cafeterias this year, thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, designed to fight child hunger, combat obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation’s students.
Schools are phasing in new nutrition standards over a three-year period, starting with lunches in this first year and moving on to changes in breakfast menus in subsequent years.
The new rules are designed to ensure:
• Students are offered both fruits and vegetables each day
• There are more whole grain-rich foods offered, along with low-fat or fat-free milk
• Portion sizes are better controlled to provide more age-appropriate caloric intake
• Food contains less saturated fat, trans fat and sodium
It is the first time in more than 15 years that nutrition requirements have been updated for school meal programs. The effort is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign that was signed into law by President Obama.
Audrey Rowe, the administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is charged with overseeing 15 nutrition assistance programs and education efforts that help children and needy families.
Most recently, Rowe served as Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs at FNS, which led the effort to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
In addition to FNS programs, Rowe has served as Human Resources Administrator in New Haven, Connecticut, and Social Services Commissioner for the State of Connecticut and the District of Columbia. In addition, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the National Urban League.