First Lady Introduces New School Lunch Rules

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 --- 7:40 a.m.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- Even when pizza is on the menu, school lunches are going to be healthier.

The first major nutritional overhaul of school meals in more than 15 years will mean that most of them will have less sodium, more whole grains and a wider selection of fruits and vegetables on the side.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the new guidelines during a visit with elementary school students today in Alexandria, Virginia. They were joined by celebrity chef Rachael Ray.

Under the rules, pizza won't disappear from lunch lines, but it will be made with healthier ingredients. Entire meals will have calorie caps for the first time, and most trans fats will be banned.

Sodium will gradually decrease over a 10-year period. Milk will have to be low in fat, and flavored milks will have to be nonfat.

The rules aren't as aggressive as the administration had hoped. Congress last year blocked the Agriculture Department from making some of the desired changes, including limiting French fries and pizza. Conservatives in Congress said the government shouldn't tell children what to eat. School districts also objected to some of the requirements, saying they would cost too much.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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