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Good Nutrition On Texas’ Menus This School Year

The new school year has begun, and in addition to stocking up on school supplies and brushing up on their studies, students across Texas are gearing up for a healthier school meal environment. In March, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) released a new Texas Public School Nutrition Policy in response to the growing rates of childhood obesity. The nationally recognized policy is effective at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. Among other steps, the policy limits the number of grams of fat and sugar that Texas schoolchildren are served each week and restricts portion sizes for chips, cookies, frozen desserts and beverages. The policy also calls for phasing out deep-fat frying in schools.
To offer parents, teachers, school administrators and school food service professionals additional resources and clarifications on the policy and general childhood nutrition information, TDA launched its Square Meals Web site this summer at www.squaremeals.org. The site provides one-page overviews of the nutrition policies for elementary, middle and junior high, and high schools. It also provides information on exemptions, answers to frequently asked questions, and tips on ways to reward children with incentives other than food. Finally it gives ideas on non-food fundraisers. Materials in both English and Spanish also can be requested by calling the toll-free Square Meals number at (888) TEX-KIDS.

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