- A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that fruit and vegetable consumption increased as a result of new federal standards for healthier meals imposed on schools in 2012.
- The new standards from USDA aimed to improve the nutritional quality of school meals by making whole grains, fruits, and vegetables more available, requiring the selection of a fruit or vegetable, increasing the portion sizes of fruits and vegetables, removing trans fats, and placing limits on total calories and sodium levels.
- The study was based on 1,030 students in four schools in an urban, low-income school district both before (fall 2011) and after (fall 2012) the new standards went into effect. Following the implementation of the new standards, fruit selection increased by 23% and vegetable consumption increased by 16.2%.
Just as they you can lead a horse to water but can't make him to drink, you can lead children to vegetables, but can't force them to eat them. Even while applauding the results of the new standards, the study's plate waste data underscored that fact. Students discarded roughly 60%-75% of vegetables and 40% of fruits on their trays. Those are significant percentages that should have the people who plan the lunches consider how to make their produce offering more appealing to the children who have been throwing them out.
Perhaps they will have to get the recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetable in liquid form. Fruit and vegetable juices without added sugars are permitted under the new guidelines for drinks that kick in this summer.