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Kate Uslan's picture

Let’s be clear: I support giving children choices and empowering them to make good ones. Those are crucial life skills that need to be reinforced at home and at school. That being said, the adults at home and at school have a responsibility to make sure that the choices presented are all healthy choices.

As a parent, I want to send my son off to school knowing that if he is hungry he can go to a machine to choose a yogurt or an apple. I have no problem with helping the school fill its empty coffers by selling snacks at lunch or at events, as long as those snacks are of sound nutritional quality and adding something to his health rather than detracting from it. I’m sorry but no, you can’t raise money at the expense of children’s health.

So I am thrilled that the USDA has just released proposed updated guidelines for schools that address what foods can be sold in vending machines, school stores and a la carte lines (items sold at lunch outside of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs). It is long overdue and parents should rejoice. This isn’t about taking away choices from families or hampering a school’s ability to earn extra money in tough economic times. This is just about creating environments that truly support health and learning (because we know they go hand in hand).

For more information on the proposed guidelines and free resources for schools to help them make these changes, visit


Success Stories from the Healthy Schools Program

Food is Fuel, Not Funding

The Tables Have Turned: Moving Students from the Snack Shack to the Lunch Line

Elementary Schools Raise Funds Through Fitness, Not Food


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