Beef jerky, Rice Krispie treats and four varieties of Mazzio’s pizza are a few of the À la carte choices in the lunchroom at Jenks High School outside Tulsa, Okla., where football is king and the players have royal appetites. But those items, plus the one-pint cartons of whole chocolate milk beloved by many players – average weight on the offensive line is 250 lb. – could be gone now that the federal government has issued new restrictions on fat and sodium offered during the school day, reports Time…”Just a typical unfunded mandate,” sighs Jenks principal Mike Means as he contemplates guidelines predicted to cost schools an extra 14 cents per lunch – of which the feds will pay only 6 cents. Washington hopes that school districts will get more creative in controlling expenses and menu planning. Principal Means thinks kids about to enter the real world need to learn how to make choices on their own–without the government breathing down their gullet. Do they want a slice of pepperoni pizza or a healthier serving of turkey-pepperoni pie? All of this is looming because the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January proposed sweeping new nutrition standards for school lunches: limiting French fries and starch to one cup per week, lowering calorie limits and sodium levels, replacing whole milk with skim or 1% and mandating leafy greens and red and orange veggies like squash. The rules will affect some 30 million lunches served in America each school day. Next on the USDA’s target list: À la carte items and so-called competitive foods–like the Mazzio’s and Arby’s available in the Jenks cafeteria and the Donatos pizza being served at high schools in Columbus, Ohio…

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staff and wire services reports