À la Change for À la Carte

Smart Snacks in Schools
Monday Apr 7, 14
Smart Snacks in Schools

Good-bye oversized ice cream treats. So long mammoth muffins. Adiós hot chocolate packs and Ramen noodles. One of the final pieces to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is about to be put into effect as of July 1, 2014.

Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, only "smart snacks" will be sold in schools during the school day (from midnight to 30 minutes past the end of the school day). This change will affect vending machines, school stores, and breakfast and lunch à la carte items (some changes will be seen at the middle school, but the majority will be at the high school).

Director of Food Service Marilyn Splinter says that her staff has already been working towards the change in product to be in compliance with the new regulations. "This does not affect the elementary school at all. The middle school will see very little changes, but once again the high school will definitely feel the effects."

This new change will have a huge impact on food manufacturers, but Splinter says that they have already started to make modifications to their foods to comply with the new regulations. She mentions that some food items will just disappear (such as the items listed at the start of the article) but that others will be replaced with items that are lower in calories, fat, sugars and sodium.

Splinter shares that they hope the soft serve ice cream will just be served in smaller portions (it's a very popular item) but that pretzels, nachos and cheese will be different. For example, pretzels will be switched to whole grain with no outer salt.

"Our focus is on selling meals," explains Splinter. "Therefore, our students won't see as much change as other schools across the country. Minnesota already does a good job with school meals. Many of these new regulations were brought about because of changes that need to happen in other parts of the country. This is common sense, good nutrition that presents a common message-here is a healthy lunch coupled with healthy à la carte selections."