School lunches will soon cut back on calories - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

School lunches will soon cut back on calories

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Amarillo, TX - Local school lunches and vending machines will soon be getting lighter, by serving lower calorie foods.

Chips, Coke and other school lunch and snack items will be regulated starting on July 1st.
   
The USDA has released these new rules in an effort to fight childhood obesity.

"What it's mainly going to do is cut back on portion sizes and serving sizes in order to meet the guidelines," said Tim Cunningham who is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian.

Some of the new guidelines include snacks may only contain 200 calories and 230 milligrams of sodium.

Lunch meals may only include 350 calories total and 480 milligrams of sodium.

"Anytime you limit their calorie intake, and a kid is used to eating 1,000 calories at lunch and you're only going to allow them to have two to three hundred, they are going to get hungry," Cunningham said.

Beverages will also be regulated under the new rules.

All students will be allowed to drink water, milk, along with fruit and vegetable juice.

Additionally, only high school students will be allowed to drink caffeinated beverages.

All of these regulations are being made in hopes of getting kids to eat less manufactured food.

"Really what their goal is, what they want it to be is, that these kids are getting real food, and they're not getting the pre-packaged processed stuff anymore, they are actually eating vegetables, they're eating fruits, they're eating nuts and seeds, instead of eating something that has already been manufactured," said Cunningham.

And the guidelines are geared to helping children live healthier lives.

"The concern is these kids that are overweight and develop type 2 diabetes, when they are in their 8 ,9, 10 years of age, go on to develop heart disease 10 years after that, and they'll usually develop cancer and die before they reach the age of 50," Cunningham said.

Lunches and snacks brought from home will not be regulated, so parents who wish to still control what their kids eat will be able to do so.