Today, USDA announced a one-year extension of the flexibility on meeting the weekly requirements for grains and meat/meat alternates through School Year 2013-2014. This extension applies to both breakfast and lunch and states that schools must only meet the weekly minimum through SY 2013-14. USDA stated that they received a strong amount of feedback showing that the flexibility for this school year better allowed SFAs to create healthy nutritious meals while maintaining the integrity of the objectives of the Meal Pattern Guidelines. USDA is open to the idea of a further extension in the future.
Making the flexibility permanent is the first point of the SNA 2013 Legislative Issue Paper. SNA is pleased to see the one-year extension, but the Association remains committed to achieving a permanent elimination of the weekly limits on Grains and Meat/Meat Alternates served in the National School Lunch Program. Weekly limits on the grains and proteins create significant menu planning challenges as school nutrition professionals cannot offer healthy options like daily sandwiches (too much grain), a small side of peanut butter with celery sticks or low or non-fat cheese and yogurt on the salad bar (too much protein).
The entire USDA Memo can be found here.
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