Many schools also sell foods separate from these school meals — as à la carte offerings in school cafeterias or in school stores, snack bars, or vending machines — that are not subject to federal nutritional requirements. These foods are called “competitive foods” Because they compete with school meals.
Recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) are: Federally reimbursable school nutrition programs should be the main source of nutrition in schools. Opportunities for competitive foods should be limited. If competitive foods are available, they should consist primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
Why do we need standards? Children in the United States are increasingly becoming overweight and obese, and most do not meet recommendations for a healthy diet.
By adhering to these recommended standards, schools can help children meet dietary guidelines and reduce their risks for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.