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Lunchables could soon appear on school lunch menus

Kraft Heinz is creating special versions of two Lunchables varieties that will meet federal school lunch standards.
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Posted at 11:59 AM, Mar 14, 2023

Kraft Heinz is preparing to sell Lunchables to schools. The company says it has two varieties that will meet federal school lunch requirements for K-8 students.

Starting in the 2023-24 school year, turkey and cheese Lunchables, as well as the extra cheesy pizza variety, will be available to schools. These varieties will differ from the ones available in stores, Kraft Heinz said. 

The turkey and cheese with cracker variety will contain 1 ounce of grains and 2 ounces of meat or meat alternative. The extra cheesy pizza will contain 2 ounces of grains and 2 ounces of meat or meat alternative. 

The turkey and cheese variety will contain 16 grams of protein, 19 grams of carbohydrates and 930 milligrams of sodium. The extra cheesy pizza will have 19 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbohydrates and 700 milligrams of sodium. 

The turkey and cheese variety commonly sold throughout the U.S. in stores has 13 grams of protein, 21 grams of carbohydrates and 740 milligrams of sodium. The extra cheesy pizza variety in stores has 14 grams of protein, 28 grams of carbohydrates and 510 milligrams of sodium.

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A Kraft Heinz spokesperson said the serving size for the Lunchables sold to schools will be larger. The turkey and cheese type sold in stores is 3.2 ounces. The one for schools will be 3.5 ounces. The extra cheesy pizza variety in stores is 4.2 ounces. The school product will be 5.05 ounces.

“Both SKUs have a specialized recipe that incorporates more protein and whole grains to keep kids powered throughout the day, reduced saturated fat and sodium, and an increased serving size,” Kraft Heinz said. “As part of being NSLP-approved, this lunch will help provide more wholesome options to students for purchase or through the free school lunch program.”

Over the course of five days, school lunches for K-5 students are required to have 8-9 ounces of grains and 8-10 ounces of meat or meat alternatives. School lunches for students in grades 6-8 must contain 8-10 ounces of grains and 9–10 ounces of meat or meat alternatives a week. School lunches for K-8 students are also required to include 2.5 ounces of fruit and 3.75 ounces of vegetables in a week. 

Starting in 2023-24, lunches for K-5 students will be limited to an average of 1,110 milligrams of sodium per meal. The current standard for younger students is 1,230 milligrams. The sodium limits for students in grades 6-8 will go from 1,360 milligrams to 1,225 milligrams per day.