Nation

US plans new restrictions on the snacks schools sell

WASHINGTON — The days of eschewing healthier school lunches and filling up on cookies from the vending machine are numbered.

For the first time, the Agriculture Department is telling schools what sorts of snacks they can sell. The new restrictions announced Thursday fill a gap in nutrition rules that allowed many students to load up on fat, sugar, and salt despite the existing guidelines for healthy meals.

Advertisement

‘‘Parents will no longer have to worry that their kids are using their lunch money to buy junk food and junk drinks at school,’’ said Margo Wootan, a nutrition lobbyist for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who pushed for the new rules.

That does not mean schools will be limited to doling out broccoli and brussels sprouts.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Snacks that still make the grade include granola bars, low-fat tortilla chips, fruit cups, and 100 percent fruit juice. And high school students can buy diet versions of soda, sports drinks, and iced tea.

Banned are some beloved school standbys, such as doughy pretzels, cookies, and those little ice cream cups with their own spoons.

The bottom line, Wootan said, is that the food must have nutritional value.

Advertisement

‘‘There has to be some food in the food,’’ she said.

Still, 17-year-old Vanessa Herrera of Rockaway, N.J., is partial to the Cheez-Its and sugar-laden vitamin water in her school’s vending machine.

Granola bars and bags of peanuts?

‘‘I don’t think anyone would eat it,’’ Herrera said.

The snack rules don’t take effect until the 2014-15 school year.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com