Winning the hearts, minds, and stomachs of teens … and parents

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Judy Carter of Arlington Food Services arranges plums, fresh apples and Asian pears for through the National School, Breakfast Program for students at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Photo by USDA via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I’m often reminded by friends and family with kids that, as a parent, you “choose your battles” with your children, including sometimes (often?) what they eat. Parents and kids don’t always conflict, though. A recent piece from Harvest Public Media suggests that school districts will be facing complaints from some kids and parents as new federal school lunch guidelines go into effect:

Schools are making room for more fruits and vegetables on lunch trays by serving less meat and bread, and even curly fries. The nationwide changes are meant to counter childhood obesity, but some parents are complaining that their kids are still hungry after they clean their plates….

The new guidelines, the first from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in more than a decade, include maximum limits rather than just the longstanding minimum requirements for things like calories, meat, and vegetables. Lunches for high-school students, for example, must add up to at least 750 calories, but no more than 850. Limits on sodium and fat are being phased in. Also students must take at least one fresh fruit or vegetable.

Marlene Schwartz, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, supports the changes. She said a lack protein is not a nationwide problem, but obesity is.

Head here for the full audio and print versions of the story.

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