Hot Potato PoliticsOle & Shaina Olmanson
You say potato, I say potahto. Last week the Senate blocked a bill that would force schools to serve potatoes and other starchy vegetables only 1-2 times a week (1 cup per student a week for lunch), The New York Times reported.
So, I get it. We all have a choice about what we want to eat and deserve to have that choice. What about the kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch who don’t have a choice? Yes, that is a national program, which means it’s a national responsibility to consider what is being served to our children under that national program. If you are offering nationally subsidized meals, then we have a responsibility to look at what is being served during those meals.
And really, the argument that you can batter and fry any vegetable doesn’t hold here, Senator Mark Udall. No. Because even if we don’t batter and fry a potato, the fact remains that a large potato has approximately 60 grams of carbohydrates. Those aren’t tater tots. That’s a plain baked potato. To contrast, a full cup of canned green beans has only 6 grams, a cup of fresh, 10 grams of carbs.
So, 21% of the daily value of carbs (and that’s an adult percentage) without even touching the sugared cereal for breakfast, the grilled cheese, the cookie or cake for dessert, the breading on the chicken nuggets. Limiting them to 1-2 times a week isn’t constrictive. It’s a step to supporting a healthier diet for kids who should be exposed to a wider variety of vegetables in the first place.
Let’s just be real. I get that the potato farmers need to make a living. I support them in doing that. I love potatoes…in moderation. However, at what cost do we continue to back serving potatoes as *the* vegetable option in schools? Where is personal responsibility on raising healthy kids? Why is this such a hard concept for Americans on the whole? Invest in the future. Personal responsibility as a people. As a whole nation.