March 5, 2004 at 2:32 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 2:27 PM
First McDonald's, now the school cafeteria. Both are under pressure to cut back on the size of fries. A new school nutrition policy from the Texas Agricultural Commissioner will limit the size of French fry portions your kids get at school, along with other high fat, high sugar foods. How's that going to affect your kids? More than you might think.
If you ask kids what they want to eat for lunch, they all say the same thing.
"I usually eat pizza."
Pizza is pretty popular. So are French fries. But kids won't be able to eat them for long. The State of Texas is serving up new guidelines that eliminate fried food, and cut the portion sizes, something the kids aren't happy about.
"Oh gosh, they are like so small already," says Jessica Kowolik a student at Robert E. Lee High School.
"They need to be bigger, because you just get an apple, a piece of pizza, and French fries, and there are not enough French fries to fill you up for the whole day," says Shaquita Johnson of Hubbard Middle School.
But the state agricultural commissioner says oversized portions are the reason 35% of Texas kids are overweight. So how dramatic of a change will there be when it comes to portion sizes?
"Basically, we are serving a portion like this [referring to a serving of French fries]. You can see on the scale its about three and a half ounces. We will have to take off a few fries to make it about three ounces," says Victor Olivares of TISD.
That comes down to about 13 fries, and under the new rules, you can't get seconds. Other changes include: drinks can't be over 12 ounces, chips and ice cream portions will be cut in half, and nothing served can have more than 28 grams of fat.
TISD food services coordinator Victor Olivares says TISD is following many of the new guidelines already. They eliminated fried food on the elementary and middle school campuses last week. He says he'll try to initiate the other changes with the kids in mind.
"We'll do that through food advisory boards, talking with students, our customers, to find alternative to fries."
The new regulations will be phased in at all Texas public schools starting in the 2005 school year. Schools have until 2009 to eliminate fried and high fat food completely.