The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed updated nutrition standards for school snack foods and beverages. The first update since 1979, the proposed standards aim to help schools provide healthier fare in vending machines, cafeteria à la carte lines, and other places where foods and beverages are offered outside of the school meals program.
Currently, many of the snack foods and beverages sold in schools are high in calories, fat, and sugar and offer few nutrients. Notably, the proposed standards call for schools to offer more snacks with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, or vegetables as their main ingredient. If implemented, the proposed standards would improve the nutritional quality of the snacks and beverages available to tens of millions of students before, during, and after the school day. USDA will seek public comment on the proposal for 60 days.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 directed USDA to update the standards for all foods and beverages sold in schools throughout the school campus during the school day. USDA finalized regulations for school meals in January 2012.