WIUM Tristates Public Radio

USDA Proposes Rules Mandating Healthier Snacks in Schools

Feb 5, 2013

Months after the USDA enacted rules making school lunches healthier, the agency is proposing rules to mandate healthier snacks in schools as well.

The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 set new guidelines for school lunches but also required the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all food served in schools, not just lunches.

Carol Longley is a Dietetics professor at Western Illinois University and a former school food service director. She said research has shown that paring healthy snacks and lunches, is more effective at keeping kids healthy than nutritious lunches alone.

Credit keepingbeautiful.com

"The idea is if you take and not only have well delivered, well designed school meals, and then the snacks and the other foods that are being served at schools also compliment those," Longley said.

The new standards will limits snacks to 200 calories each. Though the rules will have exceptions for things such as after-school fundraisers  and to allow parents to send treats to schools for occasions like birthdays and holidays.

The USDA is requesting public comment on the proposed rules.  The comment period opened  February first and remains open for 60 days.