USDA Legislation: What’s for Lunch?

Permanent changes were enacted to the USDA’s National School Lunch and Breakfast Program last month, in legislation co-led by North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. Learn how Fargo Public School student lunches are effected.

What’s for Lunch?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has agreed to enact permanent changes to the 2012 National School Lunch and Breakfast Program requirements, in response to demands by Senator John Hoeven (ND) and Senator Mark Pryor (AR). The senators’ legislation, the Sensible School Lunch Act, has bipartisan support and the backing of the national School Nutrition Association. In late 2012, the USDA made temporary changes to the School Lunch Program in response to a letter written by Hoeven and Pryor and signed by other senators, but only for the 2012-13 school year.

server and food bins on lunch line The permanent changes lift strict limitations on the amount of grains or starches and protein that could be served for a meal. Hoeven said, “A one-
size-fits-all approach to school lunch left students hungry and school districts frustrated with the additional expense, paperwork, and research necessary to meet federal requirements. This gives school districts the flexibility they need to keep our kids healthy and successful.”

Fargo Public Schools (FPS) Nutrition Services Director Deb Laber shared, “While we must still stay within the calorie ranges given by the USDA for each meal, this legislation gives us the flexibility to use additional grains or protein to meet the caloric requirements. This means our meals are more student-friendly, yet maintain healthy food choices.”

FPS Nutrition Services has been following these more flexible, temporary guidelines since last year, so students will not see a change in their meals with the enactment of this permanent legislation. As a review for families, here are the lunch meal requirements under the Sensible School Lunch Act:

Pie chart Grade 9-12 lunch elements  Pie chart Grade 6-8 lunch elements

pie chart of K-5 meal

Students must take a minimum of three items shown on the plates above, one of which MUST be a fruit or vegetable serving, to be counted as a “full meal” and qualify for FPS Nutrition Services meal pricing.

Daily breakfast and lunch menus can be found on the Fargo Public Schools Nutrition Services website.

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