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Trump administration relaxed school lunch rules to add sugar, salt

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school lunch AP Photo/Susan Walsh

More sugary chocolate milk, fewer whole grains, and around 300 extra milligrams of salt — these are just some of the ways the Trump Administration has relaxed school-lunch nutrition rules put in place during the Obama Administration.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who heads the US Department of Agriculture (the agency that sets meal rules for nearly 99,000 schools across the country), has argued that the healthier meals fed to kids since 2012 have led some picky eaters to refuse more of the food offered at school.

“It doesn’t do any good to serve nutritious meals if they wind up in the trash can,” Perdue said in a statement posted on the USDA website in November, when new rules the USDA will make official on Wednesday December 12 were temporarily enacted.

But recent studies suggest the opposite is true: kids were eating more vegetables and taking in less saturated fat at school under the Obama-era rules (though the healthier lunches did take some getting used to).

It costs more to feed kids healthier meals, however. And with the administration set on major budget cuts — including spending less on programs that feed children and slashing billions from the education budget — the cost-cutting effects of feeding children cheaper, processed foods may be a primary reason for the rollback.

Here’s what kids across the country can get in the school lunch line under the Trump administration’s relaxed rules:

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