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USDA approves tofu for school lunches

January 31, 2012


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) made a bold move to ensure children, regardless of their cultural food preferences, will receive healthy meals at school. Besides adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to the school menus, the new USDA rule will allow schools to serve tofu, along with other soyfoods and soymilk, to children who regularly consume these foods at home.

Soyfoods and soy ingredients can lower the saturated fat, cholesterol and calories of traditional menu offerings. In school districts across the nation, food service directors are serving more soy-based meal options. Tofu can now be included alongside already served veggie burgers, chicken-less slices on sandwiches, edamame and soynuts in salads, Sloppy Joes with soy crumbles, and soymilk. The Soyfoods Association of North America (SANA) and its members want to continue to work with school food service personnel to find the best ways to add a variety of soyfoods and blended soy protein ingredients to school meals.

“Not only are kids willing to eat soyfoods, but they are asking for more,” said Nancy Chapman, Executive Director, SANA. “Healthier school meals mean better participation and better school performance.”

With this rule, USDA is putting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 within reach for students, teachers, and school administrators. The rule will begin to impact school meals in School Year 2012-2013 and changes will continue to phase in over several years in order to minimize the burden on schools.

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