Of the schools that served canned vegetables, over half used low-sodium varieties, up from 10 percent in 2000. That's just one of the promising findings from a federal report released this week, showing the widespread improvement in school lunch since standards were updated in 2012. Fruit and vegetable offerings are up, as are whole grains. One-third of schools surveyed offered self-serve salad bars.
Is it perfect? No, of course not. And do all the kids come running for more fruits and vegetables? The jury's still out - some studies show increased waste while others show increased healthy food consumption. Regardless, study authors seem to agree that the standards are needed. Healthy food in schools should be a given.
As a mom with a daughter (soon to be two) in daycare, the food served in schools is at the forefront of my mind. I'm excited for the day she starts elementary school and is offered an apple...and french fry Fridays are a thing of the past.
USDA has made great strides and school districts are working hard to implement stronger standards. Let's keep it going.