I know that my boys’ school sells snacks and beverages that are separate from the lunches that can be purchased. My 11-year-old tells me he can buy Doritos, potato chips (regular or baked), popcorn, cookies, French fries, soft pretzels, ice cream and even leftovers from previous lunches like sloppy joes a la carte. I asked if he could also buy fruits and vegetables, and he said, “Oh ya, I forgot about them.”
In addition to white and flavored milks, the kids can also buy Snapple and Switch to drink. It seems to me that there are very few restrictions on what can be sold in my sons’ school. In fact, towards the end of the year, the principal was selling candy bars to the kids as they left the school to raise funds for I don’t know what. If it continues next year, I’ll be finding out what that’s all about.
Although some states and districts have created standards for what can be sold as snacks and beverages in schools, the USDA hasn’t updated national guidelines in over 30 years. An infographic recently released by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project summarizes research that supports the need for national nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold in schools.
My oldest son moves on to high school in a different district next year, and I have a feeling the unhealthy options are going to be even more varied. It would be good to have national standards so that all kids, even my boys who will be in two different districts for the first time ever, had equal access to healthier options.
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