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Students to see healthier school lunches under new USDA ruleshttp://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/25/10234671-students-to-see-healthier-school-lunches-under-new-usda-rulesUSDA To Require Healthier Meals In Schools With Updated Nutrition Standardshttp://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/01/25/145836942/usda-to-require-healthier-meals-in-schools-with-updated-nutrition-standardsNation's schools could learn something from Chicago's early lunch trialshttp://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/stew/chi-school-lunch-standards-overhaul-presents-a-challenge-for-districts-20120125,0,3988807.storyUSDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America's Schoolshttp://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/01/0023.xml&contentidonly=trueThe Food Timeline: School Lunch Historyhttp://www.foodtimeline.org/foodschools.htmlHousehold arts and School Luncheshttp://books.google.com/books?id=RNpEAAAAIAAJ&dq=school%20lunch%20menu&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=school%20lunch%20menu&f=falseGenerations of American schoolchildren grew up with some classic staples on their plates at lunchtime: French fries, pizza, and of course, tater tots. Things have changed in recent years, as a number of public interest groups and concerned parents have become more concerned about what their children eat while at school. This Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new standards for school meals that will help children eat healthier. As part of these new regulations, schools will be required to offer different fruits and vegetables every day, reduce the sodium in each meal, and also increase the amount of whole-grain foods. Commenting on the legislation, Wendy Weyer, director of nutrition services for Seattle Public Schools noted that the biggest challenge would be reducing sodium content, "while keeping the meals palatable for our students." In place of such staples as cheese pizza, students will now receive whole wheat cheese pizza in some districts, and in some instances, baked sweet potato fries will replace French fries.The first link will take users to a piece from MSNBC's Sylvia Wood about the new standards announced by the USDA this week. The second link will take interested parties to a nice post by Allison Aubrey's on this announcement from NPR's food blog, "The Salt." The post also includes links to other relevant stories and a sample menu created using these new standards. The third link will whisk visitors to a piece from the Chicago Tribune's Monica Eng about the lessons that the USDA might learn from the Chicago Public School's experiments with healthier food options in the lunchroom. Moving along, the fourth link leads to a news release from the USDA which talks about these changes. The fifth link leads to a section from The Food Timeline website that offers a breezy tour through the world of the college dining experiences in 17th century America to the modern-day vending machine. The last link leads to a digital copy of Alice C. Boughton's 1916 work, "Household arts and school lunches." The chapter on "High School Lunch Service" is quite instructive and the book will delight anyone with a penchant for cookery or culinary history.

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