Saturday, July 2, 2022


The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.


SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Iowa Improves on Offering "Smart Snacks" in Schools


Wednesday, August 17, 2016   

DES MOINES, Iowa - The USDA said one-quarter of the calories eaten by kids come from snacks, but in this new school year, more of the snacks eaten at school won't be junk food. Iowa's ahead of many other states for making sure sweets, sodas and foods of questionable nutritional value are being replaced with healthier options in school vending machines and at snack counters. When the USDA first proposed its Smart Snack regulations four years ago, the state was already working on similar guidelines.

Carrie Scheidel, the team nutrition co-director with the Iowa Department of Education, said that helped make sure Iowa's in line with the now-final federal rules.

"They're required to implement these if they participate in the National School Lunch Program and in Iowa it is a requirement that all public school districts take part in the program," she said.

The USDA said healthier snacks, specifically those under 200 calories and low in sodium, fat and sugar, lead to better academic performance.

Scheidel explained the final regulations make sure healthy snacks are available at all times, even during extracurricular activities.

"So in the past, schools would just turn their vending machines off during the school day and then they wouldn't have to worry about it," she added. "But now, you know, they want to have options for students that are there for practice or before-school practice. So then, those products do need to meet 'Smart Snacks.'"

She noted the rules are still providing a few worthwhile challenges. Some school districts have had to readjust when selling items made at snack counters or by students themselves.

"They are trying to explore some 'scratch' items that meet, and I know that comes with school stores that are selling things, and cooking clubs that are selling things," she said. "But it's just getting more creative, beyond just being able to sell a wide variety of things."

Foods and beverages sold during school fundraisers and not meant to be eaten at school are exempt under the Smart Snack guidelines.

get more stories like this via email

While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…

Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …


The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …

The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …


Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021