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Trump administration dumps Obama-era school lunch requirements


Low-fat chocolate milk is OK, schools have more time to lower sodium

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In an effort to make school lunches fun again, President Donald Trump's administration is relaxing requirements for healthier choices that were pushed by former first lady Michelle Obama.


Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the Obama-era rules limit schools' ability to provide meals that are both appetizing and nutritious.

"If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted," he said in a statement.

It's part of the Trump administration's effort to limit regulations that place restrictions on industries such as oil and coal.

Requirements for lunches with less sodium, trans-fat and calories was championed by Michelle Obama under the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The Act also required schools to offer more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The standards began going into effect in 2012.

What is changing?

Under the new Trump administration rules, schools will have the option of offering flavored, low-fat milk to children as well as more time to cut sodium levels in school meals, the Daily Mail reported. Noodles, tortillas, biscuits, and other products made with refined grains are also back on the menu.

But not everyone is happy about rolling back healthier school lunch requirements.

The American Heart Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest both urged the government to keep the Obama-era standards in place, the report stated. The Center for Science in the Public Interest noted, for example, that most schools are already meeting the whole-grain requirement.

Following the former first lady's push, some students complained about schools serving "bowls of mush and mystery proteins." They posted pictures of their unappetizing lunches on social media with the hashtag #thanksmichelleobama.

The new government rules are being finalized from an interim rule established Department of Agriculture in November 2017.

Trump's diet, meanwhile, often consists of drinking diet Coke and eating greasy fast food. First lady Melania Trump asked the White House kitchen in August to begin preparing healthier meals for the president.

The 72-year-old president reportedly has a body mass index of 29.9. For men, that's leaning toward obese.

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