State snack could be pulled from school shelves

Published 01/20 2014 02:39PM

Updated 01/21 2014 12:48PM

Update: 10:13 pm
ILLINOIS -- The official state snack, popcorn, could be banned from public schools. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels explains.

"I love popcorn. I'll tell you, one of the reasons I go to the movies isn't always for the movie. It's for the popcorn."

Most of us probably feel the same way Harriet Brewer does about the iconic, fluffy snack. It's one of the reasons Illinois named it the official state snack.

"I love the crunchiness of it. I love the saltiness of it."

But, those things we love about popcorn, have school officials concerned. They're considering pulling it from cafeterias and vending machines. It's a move Brewer thinks is going too far.

"Nutrition-wise, it's far more nutritious than potato chips or Fritos or a lot of these corn pops or whatever it is that these children bring in their lunch."

But, new food guidelines put limits on how much sugar, fat and salt schools can offer. It means flavored-popcorns, like cheese and caramel, likely won't make the cut.

"Cheese doesn't really belong on popcorn as far as I'm concerned. Caramel corn, now that's a whole different thing."

Brewer says she's sad to think her grandkids might not get to enjoy the same lunchtime snack she did when she was a kid.

"I loved Cracker Jack."

But, she understands their health should come first and says, if kids do want our state snack, just keep it simple.

"It needs to be popcorn. It doesn't have to taste like anything but popcorn."

The State Board of Education is set to talk later this week which foods can and can't be served to students. Even if popcorn is cut, kids could still bring it for lunch.
Original: 5:04 pm
ILLINOIS -- It's a movie theater staple and also the state snack, but now the State Board of Education is thinking about banning popcorn in schools. Schools are trying to keep junk food out of kids' hands and provide healthier snacks instead.

Some types of popcorn might not make the cut. It's mostly flavored popcorns like caramel corn, kettle corn and cheese popcorn. They don't fit within the federal guidelines of what's considered healthy "smart snacks."

The state could also ban regular popcorn if it has too much sugar, fat or salt. Some popcorn lovers say it's sad to see it on the chopping block, but they understand.

Kids could still bring popcorn to school. The rules would just mean schools can't sell those snacks. Popcorn has been the official state snack for more than a decade.

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