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Daycares Can No Longer Serve French Fries, Frosted Flakes

Tony the Tiger of Frosted Flakes doesn't think this is grrrrrrrreat but you may if you have struggled with food-related health issues. This week, the US Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service issued a final rule outlining what kinds of foods can be served in daycare centers for adults and children.It extends efforts stemming from a 2010 law to improve childhood nutrition, part of Michele Obama's Let's Move anti-obesity initiative.

Daycare centers participating in government-funded programs will not serve deep fried foods and high-sugar cereals and will limit juice and meat consumption. The final rule issued this week will impact more than three million children and about 150,000 adults, and the goal is to teach kids especially to eat healthy by cultivating a taste for the good stuff early.

The Feds Say

According to the text of the rule itself, the new guidelines were written to update the meal pattern requirements in care centers to align them with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It requires centers and day care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program to serve more whole grains and a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, and reduces the amount of added sugars and solid fats in meals.

But the rule does not just focus on good and bad foods. It outlines methods of food preparation that are acceptable -- deep frying is out, for example, while pan frying is fine. Similarly, daycare centers are advised not to add honey to yogurt or serve juice more than once a day so as to limit sugar intake.

Some Special Occasions

The limits on sugar also mean that a lot of popular breakfast cereals are off the menu. Cereals that won't make the cut are Lucky Charms, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Cap'n Crunch, and Tony the Tiger's Frosted Flakes. The cereals that can be served are Cheerios, Puffed Rice, Fiber One, and All-Bran.

The new rule goes into effect in 60 days and represents the first major change to the guidelines and requirements for centers participating in the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program. The government said it will allow daycare centers to break the rules for special occasions like birthdays, but urged centers to "use discretion."

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