New federal rules require a better grade of school snacks

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(CNN) — Snack foods sold in schools are getting their first nutritional overhaul in more than 30 years.

Under federal rules released Thursday, gone will be foods like candy bars, doughnuts and regular potato chips. Granola bars, trail mix and baked chips are in.

“Snacks now have to be nutritious. They can’t just be fortified junk,” says Margo Wotton, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group.

The new regulations set limits for fat, salt and sugar in school snacks sold in places like vending machines and snack bars. Special fundraising events like bake sales will still be allowed.

Also gone are sports drinks, which contain relatively high amounts of sugar. Low-fat and fat-free milk, along with 100% fruit and vegetable juice, are allowed.

The new rules are meant to help curb childhood obesity in the U.S., which affects about 17% of children and adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve food served in schools. That began with an overhaul of the meals served in schools under the National School Lunch Program.

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