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Changing school lunch nutrition guidelines may have a minimal impact in Colorado schools

Posted at 2:00 PM, May 21, 2017

DENVER -- Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the department is suspending portions of a plan created by former first lady Michelle Obama to fight childhood obesity through the school lunch program.

“A couple of different standards have been allowed to stay in place and so basically those are sodium standards, they’ve been in place for about three years now, and grains,” Bre Riley, a dietician with the Colorado Department of Education told Nicole Brady on this week’s Politics Unplugged. “Now there is a flexibility in schools where schools can offer grain products that aren’t necessarily whole grain products.”

Secretary Perdue said schools were having trouble meeting the program's standards. He also said they were worried kids weren't eating the food.

Riley said that’s not much of a concern here in Colorado.

“I think Colorado schools are really good about working with their communities, working with their students and parents, so they end up offering the meals the kids want,” Riley said. “Across Colorado, people are really into health and wellness and I think the schools support that.”

She says the schools accomplish that by taking a different approach to how they create the meals.

“In Colorado there are districts that utilize chefs and dieticians to plan their menus,” she said. “Instead of salt they use spices and herbs in their recipes, they have salad bars where fresh fruits and vegetables are covering the salad bar, they look absolutely amazing and they scratch cook their meals.”

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Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7.