The Biden administration is set to boost the health standards of meals provided in public schools across the U.S.
The plan is to reduce the amount of sugars, salt and fat used to prepare foods for meals like school lunch and breakfast. It's a similar plan to that of the Obama administration's Health, Hunger Free Kids Act, which required schools to provide more fruits, veggies, whole grains and fat free or low fat milks.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said raising the nutritional standards of school meals is key to children's overall success.
"This is a national security imperative. It's a healthcare imperative for our children. It's an equity issue. It's an educational achievement issue. And it's an economic competitiveness issue," he said.
The new rules are set to roll out over the next several years with the hope that by 2024, 80 percent of grains in schools will be whole.
"School meals happen to be the meals with the highest nutritional value of any meal that children can get outside the home," Vislack said.
However, the plan to increase the health benefits of foods for youth is not universally shared. Advocates for the dairy industry say they are concerned. Some school officials also say the rolled back ingredients will limit which food menu options, which could ultimately push students toward less healthier options.
"Most districts allow students to leave campus. They'll be hitting the convenience stores, the fast-food restaurants," Michael Gasper, nutrition services supervisor for Holmen, Wisconsin school district, said.