AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) - Local school departments like Chicopee and Agawam have already posted their lunch menus. Many parents may notice a significant update.
It's the government's effort to promote healthier eating habits. For the first time in 15 years, the federal government has updated its school food guidelines.
New Department of Agriculture guidelines for school meals set calorie and sodium limits.
Suzanne Barry, Pediatric Resident at Baystate Medical Center, told 22News, limiting calorie intakes is a step toward a healthier lifestyle.
"I think there's a lot of hidden calories in fast food and processed foods that children just don't realize," she said. "That's the number one cause of obesity, intake of too many calories."
The guideline also requires that students receive at least one vegetable or fruit per meal, which many people say, is a change that should happen at home too.
Eulalia Bihler of Agawam said, "Like apples, or blueberries. That's where they should start, instead of giving kids soda or potato chips."
Many kids ages 8 to 10 say it took them a while to get used to the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, but now, they say they prefer these healthier snacks to junk foods.
Christopher Smith, a 10-year-old who lives in Springfield, said, "Eating junk food all day long, you don't have any energy for the rest of the day. It'd be better for me to be outside riding my bike."
But some people said, they are worried about the cost of implementing this program.
Sarah Mulloney of Fort Walton Beach in Florida told 22News, "Not as nutritious foods are more readily available because they are not as expensive, and that's something that needs to be worked on as well."
Under the new guideline, flavored milk must be nonfat and any items with artificial, artery clogging trans fats are banned.