Healthy to the Max
Following closely behind plans to improve school breakfasts and lunches, a prestigious scientific panel has presented, at Congress' request, a new set of guidelines for healthier snack food at schools. And it's quite a list. The Institute of Medicine's report recommends sharply restricting the calories students consume at school, especially by changing up "competitive" foods—those sold to raise funds. Instead of selling chips or candy bars from a vending machine or in the cafeteria, it says, schools should sell apples, carrot sticks, raisins and nonfat yogurt, for example. After normal school hours, high schools would be allowed to sell "less nutritious" snacks, such as whole-wheat pretzels and seltzer water. "When parents send their kids to school with lunch money, they don't want to worry that it will be spent on Cheetos and Gatorade," says Margo Wooten, a nutrition policy advocate. That's certainly true. But expect an outcry when the government counts whole-wheat pretzels as junk food.