Local schools prepare for new snack food regulations - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local schools prepare for new snack food regulations

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Newly proposed federal regulations will be changing what your kids can buy to eat in school.  If the changes go through, vending machines in schools will have to offer healthier options for snacks and beverages.

The USDA cracked down on school lunches at the beginning of the school year and now are taking public comments on the newest school snack and drink proposals through April 9.

"You don't need a bunch of sweets. It's not good on your teeth, it's not good on your weight," says Bobbie Webber.

She's not the only one looking out for her student's health. As part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, schools are required to give students healthy food options and at Penn Harris Madison Schools, Mark Wilcox says they're ready.

"We try to stay ahead of the game because we knew what was going to be coming. Our wellness committee said 'let's go ahead and get on board with this," says Wilcox, assistant food service director.

He says they've already switched their vending machine snacks to healthy choices, but new Federal Regulations will take things a step farther.. and nix anything with more than 200 calories. "We're not quite healthy enough according to what they're looking for there with all the reduce sodium and fat and sugar. 50% of the main ingredient of the product has to be whole grain."

He says only a few of the items in this vending machine would stay if proposals go through, which will lead to challenges. "Number one the kids have to want to eat it too. We have tried some items and we had them in machines and they haven't quite gone. Vending machine sales have dropped. The kids want what they kids want."

Elkhart Community Schools are also looking to make healthier choices available for students, but Pam Melcher says it won't be an extreme change.

"We have looked at our bid and the items that we have now and there's probably just a handful of items that we will have to take off because we've gone in that direction for the past couple years, anticipating what may happen."

And parents are on board with this health kick.

"I think the healthy food choices are good because that gives less obesity in schools and helps my children get prepared to eat better at home," says Monica Tharp.

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