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No More Junk Food Available in Schools

Update Date: Jun 27, 2013 01:53 PM EDT

Children, adolescents and teenagers will have to find another way to fulfill their junk food cravings. They will either have to bring snacks from home or wait until after school because now, schools will no longer be able to sell junk foods, like chips and soda, in vending machines and other snack bars. According to a new government policy starting in the school year of 2014 to 2015, schools will have to switch from high-calorie snacks to healthier options, such as fruit cups, low-fat chips and granola bars.

"Nothing is more important than the heath and well-being of our children," secretary Tom Vitsack from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said according to USA Today.

This new program, "Smart Snacks in Schools," was announced today. It comes with standards in terms of calorie counts, fats, sugars and sodium that schools must follow. The goal is to get young children and teenagers to eat healthier. By providing students and teachers with better options at school, these food choices could encourage how they eat when they are not in school.  Although this program aims to promote healthier eating, it cannot restrict what students bring to school or what students buy in after-school fundraisers, such as bake sales. Snacks sold during concession stands during after school sport events also are not restricted.

"It's great to be one step closer to getting junk food out of schools," Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Pubic Interest, said.

Under this new standard, snacks and side dishes cannot surpass 200 calories. For entrees that are not a part of the school's program, they must remain under 350 calories. All snacks and foods cannot have trans fat and they must meet the limits set for fat, saturated fat and sugar. Some exceptions are allowed for reduced-fat products and nuts. More information can be found here.

The program aims to eventually have only healthy options that would help fulfill daily requirements of nutrition. 

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