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School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children
Meats will be lean. Soy extenders are acceptable. Although meats that are preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or by the addition of preservatives are sometimes lean, they usually are very high in sodium. Because of their sodium content and because the consumption of such processed meats, especially processed red meats, has been linked with an increased risk of colorectal cancer in adults (WCRF/AICR, 2007), less frequent use of even low-fat versions of these meats may be advisable.
Cheese and yogurt will be low fat.
Milk offerings will be fat-free (plain or flavored) or low-fat (1 percent milk fat or less, plain only).
Foods (such as salad dressing, dips, muffins, some entrées, and some vegetable dishes) that contain added “fat” will be made with unsaturated oils. The use of some unsaturated oils is encouraged because they provide vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
If purchased commercially, the nutrition labeling or manufacturer’s specification will indicate that the product contains 0 g of trans fat per serving.
The recommended temporary criterion for whole grain-rich foods (Box 7-1) merits special attention. It is based in large part on what is currently possible considering that current labeling regulations and practices limit the school food service purchaser’s ability to know the actual whole grain content of many grain products. Although the goal of the criterion is to ensure that foods qualify as whole grain-rich if they contain at least 8 g of whole grains, some foods with lower amounts of whole grains may be classified as whole grain rich if the product ingredient listing (item c under element #2 of the criterion) is used as one of the indicators of whole grain content.
At this time, product ingredient listing is an essential element of the temporary criterion for two reasons: (1) manufacturers are not required to provide information about the grams of whole grains in their products, and many do not provide that information; and (2) the FDA whole grain health claim is not mandatory. Rather, manufacturers are allowed to place this claim on product packaging if whole grain, fat, fatty acid, and cholesterol content requirements for this health claim are met.
It is important to note that whole grain foods (such as brown rice) and some other foods that contain substantially more than 8 g of whole grain per grain serving may be classified as whole grain rich using the temporary criterion. Consequently, although some foods with less than 8 grams