New School Snack Standards
|June 28, 2013||Posted by The Fit Scoop under Uncategorized|
The Agriculture Department recently set new standards for foods sold through school vending machines.
Starting in the fall of 2014, schools will have to remove sugary foods and drinks from vending machines and replace them with healthier options that meet the fat, sugar, and sodium content guidelines that are already in place for school-prepared meals. I fully support removing cookies, candy, and soda from school vending machines, but I question whether this will actually lead students to adopting a healthier diet. Will hungry students actually swap out their potato chips for dried fruit or will they just buy the chips outside of school?
My impression after I spent a year working with elementary school students in an after-school fitness and nutrition program is that hungry kids will eat fruit when that is the only option, but when offered fruit or a cookie, most kids usually choose the cookie. Unless you somehow remove all access to unhealthy foods, just removing these options in schools won’t make much of a dent in the childhood obesity epidemic because kids won’t learn to make the healthier choice by themselves when they are outside of school. Hopefully the change in vending options will also be accompanied with lessons on why these substitutions occurred so that kids can learn to make healthy choices when the government hasn’t already made the choice for them.