Lunchbox diet guidelines
School lunches need more fruit and vegetables and less salt and fat.
The Agriculture Department issued a proposed rule that would require school lunch and breakfast programs to offer more leafy green and orange vegetables, limit starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn to one cup per week, and gradually reduce the amount of sodium in meals.

The new dietary guidelines also advise cutting out sugary drinks and drinking water instead, and eating less overall.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released the guidelines, saying Americans are too fat.
More than one-third of children and two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.

"The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim their waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease," said Vilsack.

The guidelines are available to consumers but are primarily used as the basis of nutrition education programs and school meals

The Food and Nutrition Service said the rule was developed separately from the dietary guidelines but that the two are mostly in sync. The changes will most likely not take effect until the 2012-13 school year.

The guidelines include 23 key recommendations for the general public and six for specific groups such as pregnant women. General recommendations include avoiding oversized portions and balancing calorie reduction with exercise.

Some of the tips:

• Enjoy your food but eat less.
• Avoid oversized portions.
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
• Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals and choose the foods with lower numbers.
• Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

What does your child's school lunchbox consist of?

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