SNA Welcomes Parent Support for Healthy School Food Policies

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner  

301-686-3124  

media@schoolnutrition.org  

SNA Welcomes Parent Support for Healthy School Food Policies  

 2014-09-09

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) welcomed results of a new survey from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Heart Association showing that parents support strong national nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold to students during school.

SNA joins parents in supporting strong federal nutrition standards for school foods, including “providing fruits and vegetables, limiting the use of salt, and following age-appropriate calorie limits” as the survey specified.

“School nutrition professionals have embraced requirements to offer a wider variety and larger servings of fruits and vegetables with every school meal, and SNA’s recent State of School Nutrition 2014 survey found that schools are also working hard to encourage students to choose and consume these healthier options through nutrition education initiatives,” said SNA’s CEO Patti Montague, CAE. “However, we don’t think parents would want their cafeteria staff to force children to take foods they don’t want on their tray, particularly when it contributes to an estimated $684 million in food waste each year.”

In a study recently published in Public Health and Nutrition, researchers from Cornell and Brigham Young Universities found that forcing students to take a fruit or vegetable with each school meal, as opposed to offering and encouraging these choices with each meal, results in a nearly 100% increase in waste. The study estimated this mandate results in $3.8 million worth of produce thrown the trash each day. Annually, that amount of waste equals three times the total budget of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, designed to introduce and promote produce consumption amongst low income students.

The new survey also reports one-third of parents said that schools should not be required to serve whole grains with every school meal. “SNA supports the requirement that half of grains offered with school meals be whole grain rich. Clearly, many parents agree that healthy school meals can occasionally include options like flour tortillas or white rice, since serving only whole grain foods to students is very challenging,” said SNA’s CEO Patti Montague, CAE.

“Schools, just like families, are working hard to improve the nutrition of the meals they serve. Schools just need a little flexibility to help kids adjust to nutritious changes in the cafeteria, and ensure students don’t give up on healthy school meals altogether.”

SNA supports most of new school food regulations, but is requesting commonsense flexibility under the rules. Specifically, SNA has asked USDA and Congress to:

  • Maintain the 2012 requirement that half of grains offered be whole grain rich, instead of requiring that all grains be whole grain rich.
  • Maintain Target 1 sodium levels, and suspend further reductions until scientific research supports them.
  • To avoid food waste, offer, but do not require students to take a fruit or vegetable.
  • Allow healthy items permitted on the meal line to be sold a la carte as well.

Click here for details on SNA’s requests of USDA and Congress.

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.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals.

 

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