ally and not as part of a school meal—sold in or near the school cafeteria in tandem with the federally reimbursed school meal. Individual foods and beverages are also sold or served in vending machines, at school stores, or at school fundraisers.

Foods and Beverages Sold in Schools

Federal School Meal Programs

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was established in 1946 to “safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other food” (7CFR210.1). Each school day approximately 28 million school-aged children participate in the NSLP and some 8 million participate in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) (USDA, 2003).

Nutrition guidelines for the school meal programs have been revised periodically to maintain consistency with changes in nutritional recommendations. Current regulations for the programs require that the meals be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and adhere to the RDAs for energy, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. These guidelines are described in Box 7-1.

Several food-based menu-planning approaches are used in the NSLP to ensure that lunches and breakfasts are nutritionally balanced. The majority of schools use the “traditional” food-based menu-planning system, which

BOX 7-1

USDA Requirements for School Meal Programs

  • Meet the applicable recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat, and that less than 10 percent from saturated fat.

  • Provide one-third of the RDAs of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium through school lunches and provide one-fourth of the RDA requirements through school breakfasts.

  • “Foods of minimal nutritional value” (FMNV) as defined by federal regulations, cannot be sold in food service areas during the school meal periods. The four categories of foods defined as FMNV are soda water, water ices, chewing gum, and certain candies (including hard candy, jellies and gums, marshmallow candies, fondant, licorice, and spun candy).

SOURCES: 7CFR210.10; 7CFR220.8; 7CFR Appendix B to Part 210.

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