Nutrition Association: Lunch rules pushing students to 'junk food'

Nutrition Association: Lunch rules pushing students to 'junk food'
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The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is lobbying to relax rules for healthy school lunches as Congress prepares to reauthorize first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaMichelle Obama surprises Chance the Rapper with BET Awards video Michelle Obama holds fitness 'bootcamps' for friends Obama marks Father’s Day: ‘I'm most proud to be Sasha and Malia's dad’ MORE's prized Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

The SNA is asking Congress to give the schools funding to hire nutritionists that can plan creative, appealing menu options for kids. 

“SNA supports strong federal nutrition standards for school meals, including calorie caps and mandates to offer a greater quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables,” SNA CEO Patricia Montague said in a statement. 

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“However, some of USDA’s regulations under the law have unnecessarily increased costs and waste for school meal programs and caused many students to swap healthy school meals for junk food fare.” 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, student participation in the school meal program is declining. 

The SNA is proposing increasing the per meal reimbursement for school breakfasts and lunches by 35 cents, maintaining the Target 1 sodium level reductions and suspending implementation of further targets. 

Sodium levels in school lunches now under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act must be less than 1,230 milligrams in elementary schools, 1,360 mg in middle schools and 1,420 mg in high schools. By 2017, those numbers were expected to drop to 935 mg, 1,035 mg and 1,080 mg respectively. 

The group is also calling on Congress to revert back to the 2010 standard that requires at least half of all grains offered to be whole grain rich. The standard now for 100 percent of all grains offered to be whole grain rich.