School districts learn about new food regulations

KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) – The rules are changing for school cafeterias all over New York state. On Wednesday, those who make school lunches learned about new rules that will affect what they serve starting this fall.

The new rules are part of a push to start serving healthier foods to kids in school. A more stringent set of federal guidelines will take effect on July 1st.

See detailed food and beverage requirements. Click here and scroll to Page 3.

The Ken-Ton School District hosted a workshop where representatives from 38 districts across Western New York got to hear the new guidelines explained and explore some of the products that meet those guidelines.

They apply not only to food sold in cafeterias, but in vending machines, fundraisers and baked sales – basically any food available to students during the school day.

Foods must rich in whole grains, and first ingredient must be a fruit, vegetable, dairy product or protein. The rules also limit calories, fat, sodium and sugar content.

Ken-Ton Schools Food Service Director Kim Roll said, “The healthier products do cost more, that’s for sure. But, you know what, we’re trying to find that balance between healthier products that are cost-effective.”

“The bottom line is, we want our students to have healthy meals, and healthy a la carte choices. So we’re pushing to make that happen for them.”

Schools can plug information from nutrition labels into a “Smart Snacks Calculator” online, to quickly find out whether a food meets the new guidelines.

You can see how your favorite snacks stack up by using the calculator here.

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