“You have to remember, these kids are customers,” she said. “You have to make it appealing. It’s all about how you set up the line, how you market things.”
Beaudin had outlawed deep-fat fryers, added legumes to school lunches, and switched to all whole grains before the new regulations were released.
School districts that have already made their menus healthier will have an easy time abiding by the new rules, McGrail said. “I think that different schools are going to be at different places with this,” she said. “But many have already taken lots of steps.”
The fate of chocolate milk is still murky. The new state and federal regulations have different standards for flavored milk this year, and state standards are more restrictive. The federal rules require flavored milk sold with meals to be either low fat or fat free. The state standards say milk sold anywhere else at school must have less than 22 grams of total sugar.
That means schools could sell different kinds of flavored milk with lunch and a la carte, or at other times during the school day.
And next year, when state rules will prohibit flavored milk with more sugar than unflavored milk, will be even more complicated.
“Some schools already phased flavored milks out and that solved that problem for them,” McGrail said.
Kathleen Burge can be reached at email@example.com.