Due to the advances in dietary science made in recent years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requested revised dietary guidelines for healthier food in school cafeterias from the Institute of Medicine. In 2009, the USDA implemented these new guidelines in order to better meet students' nutritional needs.
As of October 20, 2009, the USDA recommends that school cafeterias provide a healthy breakfast including at least 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of low fat or non-fat milk, one serving of whole grains and one meat or meat alternative.
A healthy cafeteria lunch, according to USDA standards, includes at least 3/4 cup of vegetables, 1/2 cup of fruit, 1 1/2 oz. of meat or meat alternative, 2 oz. of grains and 1 cup of low fat or non-fat milk.
Other Goals of the USDA
In order to promote healthy living among school-aged children, the USDA aims to lower the sodium intake of the foods served to children in school cafeterias, to increase the amount of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and to reduce the prevalence of inadequate nutrition.