It’s no surprise that the state of health of our nation’s youth is in disarray. After all, this is the driving reason why WT Café exists. Just like we’ve started a movement to feed our children the freshest and healthiest food possible, many others are also fighting to give children access to the healthy food they deserve.
A good example is the CSPI (The Center for Science in the Public Interest), an organization that has been advocating for more stringent dietary guidelines inside schools for over a decade. Last month they released an official thank you letter to all activists thanking them for their tenacious push for a school lunch overhaul. There is good news for us to celebrate.
The USDA announced just last month that there would be a new set of nutritional standards that will determine which snacks are allowed in schools. This new regulation is required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
The new standards apply to food sold in vending machines and in school dining areas inside schools that participate in the National Lunch Program and the National Breakfast Program. Here are the guidelines for what constitutes a “healthy” snack in these schools:
- The snack must consist of whole grains or the first ingredient must consist of a fruit, vegetable, or protein.
- If it’s a combination food, it must consist of ¼ cup of fruits and/or vegetables.
- Snack items must have at least 10% of the daily value of one of the nutrients that were listed of public concern by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans such as: Vitamin D, Dietary Fiber, Calcium, Potassium.
Additionally, there are fat, sodium, and sugar restrictions that should increase the quality of food served in cafeterias nationwide, decreasing the obesity epidemic that has put our health in danger. In the case of sugar, one of the biggest culprits for the rise of type II diabetes in children as young as ten years of age, the new regulations make a direct attack by effectively banning any food item with more than 35% of total weight from sugar.
Although we are excited about these higher nutritional standards, the bar is still not high enough. Fundraisers and birthday celebrations are just two examples of areas where the government falls short of true transformation in our schools.
At WT Café, we know how important it is to address all aspects of the food environment in order to effect real change. That’s why our Healthy School Solution includes programs not only for elevating the quality of school lunch and vending, but also fundraising and birthdays. Fresh, nutritious, and exciting foods should be accessible to our kids in school, not just at lunchtime but all the time. We know children are impressionable and it is up to us to lead them to healthy habits by demonstrating consistent behaviors everywhere that food is served in school.
With WT Café, your school is part of the solution, not the problem. We pledge to serve fresh food that is made from scratch and adheres to our strict nutritional guidelines. Food that is nourishing and exciting for every child!