Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray Lunch at Parklawn Elementary School

Posted by / Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A balanced diet is hard for anyone to maintain. With limitations of time, money, resources and knowledge about nutrition, it’s no surprise that obesity is a growing epidemic in our nation.

Yesterday morning at Parklawn Elementary School (in Alexandria), Michelle Obama, Rachael Ray and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, took steps in challenging childhood obesity within the school system by announcing the first changes in 15 years to the $11 billion school lunch program.

With the hope of making a positive impact on the 32 million children who take part in the nationwide school meal programs each day, Mrs. Obama and Vilsack outlined some of the new changes made to the guidelines in government-subsidized school meals while Rachael Ray cooked along school staff to prepare the midday meal. Such changes include: doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables that children are served, requiring all grains served to be whole grains, the distribution of low fat milk, limits on salt and trans fat levels and setting a maximum calorie intake per day based on age.

While these changes have been met with criticism by conservatives who say this is an overreach of government regulation, many nutritionists and representatives of the food industry including Coreay Henry, vice president of communication for the American Frozen Foods Institute, applauded the new efforts.

After the announcement this morning, Mrs. Obama, Ray and Vilsak stood in line with students and devoured Rachael Ray’s turkey tacos with brown rice, black bean and corn salad and fruit in the school’s lunchroom.

Not a bad way to lunch if you ask me.

New School Lunch Rules Aimed at Reducing Obesity [NYTimes]

Michelle Obama: School lunches to have more veggies, whole grains [MSNBC]

Photo by whitehouse.gov

[tips for the food desk]

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