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No To Starch – USDA Changing School Nutrition Guidelines

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - It’s getting harder to find white potatoes in your child’s school cafeteria these days. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is reducing the amount that can be served.

The USDA is mandating schools serve only one cup of starchy vegetable per week, beginning in the 2012/2013 school year. Fort Worth ISD Spokesperson Clint Bond says the new nutrition standards include more than just potatoes.

“The new guidelines define starchy vegetables, rather than just potatoes,” he said. “They also define it as peas, corn, white potatoes, lima beans, that kind of thing.”

The move shouldn’t be too drastic for Fort Worth schools since Bond says they’ve already been reducing the amount of potatoes and other starchy vegetables they serve. “We’re seeing certainly a concerted effort to make sure that there are healthier choices in the cafeteria.”

While the changes call for the eventual elimination of items like the white potato and flavored milk, it also adds more whole grains, green and orange vegetables and fresh fruit to menus.

Most North Texas school districts receive USDA lunch subsidies and are therefore compelled to follow the mandate. “Even though they’re called ‘guidelines’ there’s little room for moving around within them,” said Bond.

For many Fort Worth kids, the meal they get at school may be the most substantial one they receive all day

This is the first time USDA school meal standards have been raised in 15 years.

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