Government Regulations On School Snacks Could Change

What your kids eat in the school lunchroom is mostly healthy, but what about vending machines and snacks sold after school?

Government regulations do not cover snacks sold by booster clubs or at football games, but that could soon change.

A nutrition panel says after school snacks should be as healthy as school lunch, fruits and veggies whole grains, milk, 100% juice and plenty of water.

Penny McConnell, school nutrition association said, "So they are not getting one message in the classroom, one message in the cafeteria, and then going down the hall to class getting a different message."

The panel recommends limiting calories from fat and sugar to less than 35%, and offering low-fat, low-salt cookies, chips, and ice cream to only high school students.

The goal is to fight childhood obesity.

The rules would apply to after-school activities, fundraisers, and even class parties.

Not everyone agrees.

J.P. Freire, Center for Consumer Freedom said, "The focus should be on getting kids more active. They should not focus on telling parents not to bring cupcakes to school on their kid’s birthday."

The food and beverage industry, which launched its own efforts a few years ago agrees with the healthier agenda, but thinks high school kids should have more choices.

"High school kids - they can drive a car. Why not let them have a diet soft drink once in a while," said Susan Neely, American beverage Association.

Even though many of their products would be banned, studies find manufacturers will not necessarily lose money.

"Schools that make changes in their offerings, in vending machines for example, are continuing to receive the same amounts of profits from those machines while selling healthier items," said Kate Houston, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For now, they are just recommendations, designed to get kids thinking about what they eat.

The current government rules for snacks sold outside the lunchroom are 30 years old.

A new bill in the Senate proposes to make them tougher to address the kinds of foods kids are eating.


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