Schools offer more whole grain items, produce

by Jeff Gelski
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ALEXANDRIA, VA. – School nutrition programs have increased offerings for fruits, vegetables and whole grain products and made a greater variety of these items available to students, according to the School Nutrition Association’s 2007 Trends Report released Oct. 16. The increased availability of whole grain items was the most commonly reported policy/effort in place. Schools also have limited portion/serving sizes.

The report is based on a survey of 200 school districts conducted nationwide in July. According to the report, a majority of school districts have adopted the following policies: increasing the availability of healthier beverages in vending machines (81%), reducing or limiting trans-fatty acid content (74%), limiting fat content of a la carte/vending items (73%) and increasing the availability of fresh fruits/vegetables on a la carte lines and/or vending machines (69%).

The report found rising costs for food, labor and gas/transportation affect school food service operations as about 85% of the respondents report their programs experienced increases in those costs during the past school year. Most districts, or more than 63%, said the National School Lunch reimbursement was not sufficient for their districts to cover the costs of producing a meal.

The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization that represents more than 55,000 members.

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