New school lunch rules could mean more salt, sugar, and fat

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COLUMBIA, AL. (WTVY) - The "Let's Move" campaign, headed by the Obama's, pushed for more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, lower sodium levels, and fat-free milk in school lunchrooms.

Now, the Trump administration is making room on menus again for noodles, biscuits, tortillas and other foods made mostly of refined grains.

Marie Payne, Child Nutrition Director with Houston County Schools, says "The ones coming into effect now will not begin until the school year for 2019-2020."

Students and parents can expect to see three areas changed beginning in August.

"One is going to be milk," says Payne.

As of right now, flavored milk has always been offered to students but it has to be fat-free.

"With the new rules coming into effect for 2019, it can be low-fat,” replied Payne.

The second item to change...

"Whole grains, 100%, is what we were required to offer but now that can be half," says Payne.

Lastly...sodium targets.

"Sodium levels are going to be reduced gradually over the next, say...five, five or six years," replied Payne.

Nutritionists are hoping that this will encourage students to make healthier eating choices.

Tuwanna Trammell, Child Nutrition Manager at Houston County High School, says "I think it's great that the kids eat more healthy meals, but we can only control what they do here. We can't control what they do at home or when they go out on the weekends."

"Whether it's food or exercise...we may not all do it the way that we should, but I think it's very important to have that and to just do within moderation" says Payne.

These standards for school lunches were first announced in May 2017 by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

The standards were approved in December 2018.

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