school nutrition

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: Students eager to purchase soda and fried foods when they return to school in the fall may be disappointed, despite Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's recent announcement that both will be welcome back on Texas public school campuses after a 10-year ban. 

To the dismay of nutritionists and public health experts, Miller reversed the department's ban on soda machines and deep fat fryers in mid-June as part of a new state nutrition policy calling for more local foods, community engagement and training to help schools serve meals that are "attractive and taste great." 

But many large school districts aren't warming to Miller's initiative.

Sarah Jasmine Montgomery/KUT News

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller wants to end a decade-old ban on deep fried food in Texas public schools. 

Miller, who was elected last year, believes local school districts — not the state or federal government — should decide whether schools serve fried foods. He says the ban on deep fat fryers goes against his philosophy at the Department of Agriculture. 

“We’re about giving school districts freedom, liberty and individual responsibility," Miller says. "We’re all about local control and not big brother, big government control.” 

How hard can it be for school cafeterias to swap white bread for whole-grain tortillas, cut sodium, and nudge kids to put more fruit and vegetables on their trays?

Tougher than you might imagine, according to some schools.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has weighed in on the use of so-called pink slime in beef served in the government's free and reduced-price school lunch program.

Graphic courtesy USDA

Texas school districts are responding to the newest innovation in nutrition guidelines from the The U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA today unveiled MyPlate. It's a graphic rendition of suggested proportional portion sizes for fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy.

Melanie Konarik, director of child nutrition services for Spring Independent School District, called the design "excellent," saying that teachers and parents can use it to educate young people about the importance of balanced meals.