NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A healthier menu is coming to school cafeterias across the country.

The government has announced new rules for school lunches, including more fruits and vegetables and less fat, reports CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson.

Many students seem to understand the need for quality nutrition at a young age.

“You actually need healthier food to function your brain and your body to do well in classes,” said 11-year-old Linda Nguyen, who was preparing to snack on whole wheat pancakes and fat-free milk.

And Nguyen is certain that her improved nutrition is helping her in class.

“We can get a good grade and go to college and get a good job,” she said.

The government’s goal is to make sure all kids are getting healthy meals at school in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

First lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had lunch in an Alexandria, Va.,  school this week and announced the new guidelines.

“When we send our kids to school we have a right to expect that they won’t be  eating the kids of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we’re trying to keep from  them when they are at home,” Obama said.

The new guidelines mandate that fruit and vegetables must be served every day, and that meals include more whole grains, less salt and less fat. They also require schools to serve low-fat milk and control portion size.

The new rules are the first major change to school nutrition in 15 years. They are aimed at improving the health of the nearly 32 million kids who eat in school cafeterias.

Chuck Choi, the principal of Castelar Elementary School in Los Angeles, said that his school has already see results from making their meals more healthy.

“That has made a big difference in our  achievement scores and also we have one of the highest attendance rates,” he said.

The new guidelines go into effect on July 1, and will be phased in over a three-year period. The hope is that the healthier options will improve children’s’ appetites for food and learning.

What do you think of the new menu for the nation’s children? Leave your thoughts in our comments section below…

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