Check out some of the new nutrition updates from the USDA

Posted by Emily Schoeneck on Jun 4, 2024 3:00:00 PM

The USDA is always working to balance nutrition and taste in school meals, ensuring they are both healthy and delicious. In April 2024, the USDA revealed
the final rule for updates to school nutrition standards, which will start to come into effect in the 2025-2026 school year and will need to be fully integrated by the 2027 school year. 

These updates, informed by the latest nutrition science research and the public's input, have specific implications for your nutrition program. The updates focus on three key areas: added sugars, flavored milk, and sodium. Understanding these changes is key for preparing your district for the future of school nutrition. 

Take a look at what changes are to come:

Added Sugars

The amount of added sugar in certain foods, including breakfast cereals, yogurts, and flavored milk, will be limited to promote healthier choices. These changes will be introduced gradually and will not need to be fully implemented until July 1, 2027. From that date onwards, no more than 10% of weekly calories can come from added sugars. 

  • Breakfast cereals may have no more than 6 grams of added sugars per dry ounce
  • Yogurt may have no more than 12 grams of added sugars per 6 ounces

Flavored Milk

Requirements for standard milk options won’t be changing, as schools will continue to be required to offer low-fat and fat-free unflavored milk in K-12 schools. In more good news - you’ll still have the option to serve fat-free or low-fat flavored milk, but a limit on the amount of added sugars in these options must be implemented by July 1st, 2025, for the 2025-26 school year. 

  • Flavored milk offered with lunch and breakfast may contain no more than 10 grams of added sugars per eight ounces.
  • In middle and high schools, flavored milk sold a la carte can have no more than 15 grams of added sugars per 12 ounces. 


Schools will have until the 2027-28 school year to reduce the amount of sodium in both breakfast and lunch meals. After this time, breakfast meals will require 10% less sodium, and lunch will require a 15% decrease to current sodium limits. 

As you begin your planning and gear up for the changes ahead, you can take a look at the helpful infographic summarizing the new timeline. Always remember to refer to the official USDA site for the latest updates and to view the full list of new regulatory standards coming in 2025.

Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service

At Heartland, we continuously adapt to regulation changes ensuring your program is always compliant with the latest standards. Our teams are actively working to prepare our nutrition programs for these changes as the new requirements come into place.

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Topics: School Nutrition Regulation, School Lunch