Proposed Updates to School Nutrition Standards

Kids munching on sandwiches at a school dining room

In February 2023, the USDA proposed new updates to the school nutrition standards and opened up the proposal for public feedback through the end of the year. The reason for the changes provided by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was “Strengthening school meals is one of the best ways we can achieve the Administration’s goal” to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030. The proposed changes are based on the latest nutrition science and feedback from school meal partners, and reflect the most recent Dietary Guidelines. To date, there have not been any final changes announced.

What Are the Proposed Changes?

The proposed nutrition standard provisions focus on:

  • Added sugars
    • Fall of 2025 begin limiting added sugars in certain products, starting with breakfast cereals, flavored milks, grain-based desserts, and yogurt
      • Breakfast cereals limited to no more than 6 grams of added sugars per dry ounce
      • Flavored milks limited to no more than 10 grams of added sugars per 8 fl oz and 15 grams per 12 fl oz for flavored milk sold as a competitive food for milk and high schools
      • Grain-based desserts limited to no more than 2 ounce equivalents per week in school breakfast
      • Yogurt limited to no more than 12 grams added sugars per 6 ounces
    • Fall of 2027 limit overall added sugars across the weekly menu to less than 10% of calories per meal, on average
  • Milk
    • Option 1: Limit flavored milk to students in grades 9-12
    • Option 2: Allow flavored milk for students in all grades
    • Both options include a proposed added sugar limit for flavored milk
  • Sodium
    • Multi-year approach including two reductions for breakfast and three for lunch
      • Breakfast: 10% reduction each in fall of 2025 and 2027
      • Lunch: 10% reduction each in fall of 2025, 2027, and 2029

School Breakfast Program Proposed Sodium Limits

Grade GroupSodium Limit: Effective July 1, 2025Sodium Limit: Effective July 1, 2027
Grades K-5≤ 485 mg≤ 435 mg
Grades 6-8≤ 540 mg≤ 485 mg
Grades 9-12≤ 575 mg≤ 520 mg

National School Lunch Program Proposed Sodium Limits

Grade GroupSodium Limit: Effective July 1, 2025Sodium Limit: Effective July 1, 2027Sodium Limit: Effective July 1, 2029
Grades K-5≤ 1,000 mg≤ 900 mg≤ 810 mg
Grades 6-8≤ 1,105 mg≤ 990 mg≤ 895 mg
Grades 9-12≤ 1,150 mg≤ 1,035 mg≤ 935 mg
  • Whole grain
    • Option 1: Maintain current requirements, which requires 80% of all grains offered to be whole grain-rich (containing at least 50% of whole grains)
    • Option 2: Allow schools to serve non-whole, enriched grain foods one day per school week

When Would These Changes Take Place?

The proposal timeline is described by the USDA as “a gradual, multi-year approach to implementing”.

Gordon Food Service Resources

Making the Grade is a great resource for understanding regulations, meal requirements, finding tools for school foodservice, and much more!  Check out the latest edition on Gordon Experience or request a hard copy from your sales representative.

Recent Blog Posts

Food for thought.

Food Comes First.

We believe in the power of good food—to bring people together and make moments special.

Search Our Site…