With new federal Department of Agriculture nutrition standards for school meals slated to take effect this month, thousands of school chefs, food service workers and nutrition experts gathered in Denver for the annual School Nutrition Association conference this week, the New York Times reports. The rule changes are part of an initiative put forth in January by first lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make school lunches more nutritional. The guidelines establish calorie and sodium limits for meals, require schools to offer a wider selection of fruits and vegetables and mandate that all milk be 1 percent or nonfat. Requirements for the use of whole grains are also being phased in. As a result, more schools have moved to cooking meals from scratch, thereby making use of more fresh local fruits and vegetables as opposed to processed foods…

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