Countless children braced themselves last year when the White House and the Department of Agriculture released revised nutrition guidelines for schools aimed at curbing junk food. Would students be forced to surrender their Twinkies to the furnace? Would they be expected to eat nothing but bran crackers and carrots while on the premises? Although several schools dismissed the recommendations outright as too strict, the ones who adopted them were in for a hilarious surprise: Flamin' Hot Cheetos counted as "smart snacks."
NPR broke down the loophole in an excellent expose. Apparently, the makers of Flamin' Hot Cheetos moved swiftly once the government-sanctioned guidelines came down. They made some tweaks to their recipe and soon began offering Reduced Fat, Whole Grain Rich Flamin' Hot Cheetos to schools following the new system. As far as administrators can tell, the kids haven't noticed the difference. The snack is still one of the top vending machine sellers, and every student NPR spoke to offered ecstatic endorsements. This development probably (read: definitely) wasn't what the Department of Agriculture had in mind when they drew up the guidelines, but at the end of the day, you just can't come between a boy and his Cheetos.
Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and would like a ruling on Utz potato chips. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.
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