When you’re eating pizza do you think you’re munching on a vegetable? The answer is “yes” at least if you are in the federal school lunch program. Really? A vegetable? It all sounds reminiscent of the Reagan administration in the 1980’s trying to classify ketchup as a vegetable. In any case, it seems that the current Obama administration is trying to change the way pizzas are classified in order to make sure kids eat more vegetables but some lawmakers are saying “Basta!” (Enough!).
Also on the legislative plate, having more whole grains in school food, getting rid of starchy foods like potatoes and cutting back on sodium. The reason is a noble one as the Obama administration is trying to stop the tide of obesity in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 17% of children between the ages of two and 19 in the United States are obese! Yikes!
So, as it turns out, the tomato paste used in the sauce on pizza is currently considered a vegetable under federally funded school lunch programs and the USDA, which spends about 14 billion dollars on meals for kids, would like to cut back on how much tomato paste is actually considered a vegetable. Having tomato paste count as a vegetable is ok with the USDA, the problem is how much of it currently counts towards a daily requirement of vegetables.
Currently under government guidelines, each week children in the federally funded breakfast and lunch programs must be served at least two and a half cups of vegetables. The USDA would like to see that amount doubled. (Good idea!) Now if the tomato paste in pizza is going to be considered less of a vegetable, schools need to serve other vegetables with the pizza. Mama mia! Increasing the amount of vegetables kids eat does not sound like a bad idea at all. And having kids consume two and a half cups of vegetables in a five day breakfast and lunch program seems to be almost nothing.
What’s wrong with this new proposal started by the Obama administration to change nutrition guidelines for school breakfasts and lunches subsidized by the federal government? It seems to me, there’s nothing wrong with it. The amount of vegetables consumed by kids should by all means be increased, but a bill in Congress is trying to stop this. What do you think?? Let me know!