Heads up, parents. Lunches served at our Texas public schools are about to look different.

Years ago I was growing up and attending school in Tyler, Texas. I was one of those unusual kids who actually enjoyed going through the hot lunch line at school. It may have been different at your school. But in my school district, and especially once I got to high school, going through the hot lunch line wasn't considered 'cool.'

Nope, back then it was all about the cheese fries or an embroidered, fancy 'sack' lunch.

I liked the variety of the hot lunch line and not knowing what to expect each day. Because of that, I was willing to put up with the friendly scrutiny of those with whom I shared a lunch table.

With the huge changes coming to our public school lunches in Texas, I wonder if I would have felt the same way. Probably. Honestly, I like these changes.

This decision is coming down from the USDA itself. A report from ABC11 shared that:

'On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a series of changes to nutrition standards for school meals, including one that is a historic first.'

And when you consider the fact that approximately 30 million kids partake of school lunches across the U.S., this will be a big change, indeed.

So what changes can we expect in the not-so-distant future in our Texas schools?

A USDA press release states:

'Nutrition standards for school meals will be gradually updated to include less sugar and greater flexibility with menu planning between Fall 2025 and Fall 2027. The Department arrived at these changes after listening closely to public feedback and considering the latest science-based recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.'

According to information shared by ABC11, the three most MAJOR changes are:

School lunches will have less added sugar. It's important to note that up to this point, schools were mainly required to provide caloric requirements, without being required to limit the amount of extra sugars added to the meals to reach those calorie quotas. So, this is HUGE.

There will be a gradual decrease in sodium levels in public school lunches. We know that too much sodium is not the healthiest choice for adults, so why would we think it's acceptable for our children? Well, according to these coming changes, we no longer do. The new requirement will be rolled out in July of 2027, which means a 15% reduction of sodium in school lunches and a 10% reduction in breakfast.

The 3-year period is in place to give schools and providers time to make the necessary changes.

Yes, milk and flavored milk will still be offered but there will be changes. As mentioned above, schools will have until July 2025 to comply with the new rule about added sugars.

Other changes coming to school lunches and the dates when we will see them in our school cafeterias? Check out the press release from the USDA here.

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