New nutritional guidelines will take effect this fall

  • Fri Aug 31st, 2012 8:12pm
  • Life

Associated Press

New Agriculture Department guidelines for school lunches will take effect this fall, including the first national calorie and sodium limits for what can be served on lunch lines.

A look at what the new guidelines require, according to the School Nutrition Association:

Grains

Grades K-5: 8 to 9 servings per week

Grades 6-8: 8 to 10 servings per week

Grades 9-12: 10 to 12 servings per week

Students should have at least one serving of grains each day, and one-half of offerings must be rich in whole grain.

Meats/meat alternatives

Grades K-5: 8 to 10 ounces per week

Grades 6-8: 9 to 10 ounces per week

Grades 9-12: 10 to 12 ounces per week

Nuts, tofu, cheese and eggs can be substituted for meat in some cases.

Milk

Grades K-12: 1 cup per day

Fat-free, low-fat and lactose-free milk options are allowable.

Fruits

Grades K-8: 1/2 cup per day

Grades 9-12: 1 cup per day

Only half of the weekly fruit requirement can come from juice.

Vegetables

Grades K-8: 3/4 cup per day

Grades 9-12: 1 cup per day

Weekly requirements for vegetable subgroups, including dark green, red/orange, beans/peas, starchy and others.

Sodium

By July 2014, sodium levels for lunches should not exceed:

Grades K-5: 640 mg

Grades 6-8: 710 mg

Grades 9-12: 740 mg

A timetable sets targets for further reducing sodium levels by 2022.

Fats

No more than 10 percent saturated fats. No trans-fat, except for those naturally occurring in meat and dairy products.

Total calories

Grades K-5: 550 to 650 per day

Grades 6-8: 600 to 700 per day

Grades 9-12: 750 to 850 per day

Calories can be averaged over the week.