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Why the School Lunch Bill Is a Historic Victory

One of the last victories to be secured by the Democratic Congress, the school food bill increases the quality of school food we serve to kids.

A victory in the battle for healthier school lunches cleared its way through Congress yesterday afternoon. The bill is now headed for President Obama's desk, where is is virtually guaranteed a swift passage (thanks in no small part to the interest and backing of the First Lady).

The child nutrition bill determines the reimbursement rate for school lunches, the type of food that can be sold in vending machines, and whether trans fats can be banned from the equation. Prior to the new legislation, schools were reimbursed up to $2.68 per school lunch. For the first time in 30 years, it will now be increased by six cents, to $2.74.

Dollars and cents aside, earlier this year, Nikhil reported that "kids who eat lunches served by their schools are almost 60 percent more likely to be overweight or obese when compared to children who bring their lunch from home."

The New York Times features research from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which sums up in a simpler way how this legislation will reform school lunches going forward:

Whereas before lunch may have consisted of a fried chicken patty, white roll, canned green beans, whole milk, and a package of snack cakes (likely from a vending machine), kids can now look forward to lunches that consist of the following: barbecued chicken patty, whole grain roll, locally grown carrots, one percent milk, and sliced apples.

As a way of celebrating, maybe a new school lunch contest (adhering to the new federal guidelines) is in order?

Photo (cc) via Flicker user dancing_chopsticks

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