DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Public Schools said they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to offering healthy snacks in schools. New federal rules mandate that unhealthy snacks like candy bars, soda and potato chips be replaced with healthier options.

It’s the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in 30 years.

But students at DPS won’t find unhealthy snacks in the vending machines at their schools.

“The sodas completely came out of high schools last year,” said DPS Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Theresa Hafner.

The school district gives an A-plus grade to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for making healthy snacks the standard.

It sets limits for sugar, fat and salt sold in vending machines and snack bars. Schools need to comply with the new standard by July 1.

Sports drinks may be the next to go from DPS because they may be too sugary under the new guidelines.

When DPS shifted toward the healthy snack movement, they found students consuming more veggies and fruits.

“It’s a good thing because it fuels their bodies, fuels their minds, keeps them alert and gives them their nutrients,” said Hafner.

The new USDA guidelines mandate all school foods must contain at least 50 percent whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient.

DPS plans to stay ahead of the curve with their pilot dinner program expanding from 10 schools to more this year.

“Yet another option to receive healthy food toward the end of the day,” said Hafner.

DPS will offer a third meal for students attending any after school program so they can eat before they head home for the day.


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