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Grain Protein Limits for School Meals Permanently Lifted

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
301-686-3124 Ext.
media@schoolnutrition.org

Grain/Protein Limits for School Meals Permanently Lifted

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (January 2, 2014) – School Nutrition Association (SNA) members applaud the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new rule to permanently eliminate overly restrictive weekly limits on the grains and proteins served with school meals. Securing this reprieve became a primary focus of SNA’s 2013 advocacy efforts following negative impacts of weekly limits on meal planning and student participation.

Updated nutrition standards for school meals, implemented in July 2012, included weekly grain and protein maximums, which inadvertently took a variety of healthy foods off the menu in school cafeterias.

Many schools could not offer daily sandwich choices because serving two slices of whole-grain bread each day exceeded weekly grain limits, and salads topped with grilled chicken and low fat cheese surpassed weekly protein limits.

These changes prompted complaints from some students concerned that school meals were no longer adequate to keep hunger at bay, and led many families to start packing lunch for their students. Acknowledging these problems, USDA temporarily lifted the weekly limits through the 2013-14 school year.

"School Nutrition Association members are pleased that USDA has provided this permanent fix, acknowledging the need for greater flexibility in planning well balanced school meals,” said SNA President Leah Schmidt, SNS. “With school nutrition professionals already planning menus and inventory for the 2014-15 school year, eliminating the grain and protein limits is a key step to providing healthy menus that appeal to students.”

USDA’s new rule will be published on January 3.

About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org.

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