January 4

Schools win battle against lunch portion limits

The Agriculture Department removes the meat and grain limits for good.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department says it’s making permanent rules that allow schools to serve larger portions of lean meat and whole grains in school lunches and other meals.

click image to enlarge

In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, students at the Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood eat lunch. The Agriculture Department said Friday, Jan. 3, 2013, it’s making permanent rules that allow schools to serve larger portions of lean meat and whole grains in school lunches and other meals.

AP Photo/Steven Senne

Guidelines restricting portion size were originally intended to combat childhood obesity, but many parents complained their kids weren’t getting enough to eat. School administrators say that rules establishing maximums on grains and meats are too limiting and make it difficult to plan daily meals.

The department eliminated limits on meats and grains on a temporary basis more than a year ago. On Thursday officials made the rule change permanent.

The change was announced by Kevin Concannon, an undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

He says the department has delivered on its promise to give school nutritionists more flexibility in meal planning.

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