Federal nutrition rules improve school lunches


by Collette Wieland, KGW Staff

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Posted on September 5, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 5 at 1:39 PM

PORTLAND -- For the first time in 15 years, there are some major changes to school lunch programs in the Portland Metro area, and across the entire country.

The “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” was passed by federal lawmakers and requires schools to offer healthier choices for their students.

“At least half of their plate should be fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Gitta Grether-Sweeney, the Nutrition Services Director for Portland Public Schools. “We try to serve fresh fruits and vegetables and roasted vegetables that the kids will eat."

For several years now, Portland Schools have been offering up fresh veggies and fruits and give kids unlimited access to the foods during lunch. Grether-Sweeney said implementing the new guidelines were easy. What’s also nice, she said, was that students who don’t normally take those options, will have to.

“A number of the kids in Portland Public Schools have food insecurity issues at home, so they don't get the fresh fruits and vegetables very often at home."

Under the new federal nutrition standards, school cafeterias are also going to serve more whole grains and limit sodium, calories and unhealthy fats.

More: Federal school nutrition standards

For a more detailed look at the changes, you can go to,