Yesterday, in a move that has left a lot of people confused, and also dizzy from rolling their eyes so hard, Congress released the final version of a spending bill that now qualifies the scant amount of sauce on a piece of pizza as a serving of vegetables. The bill also delays (indefinitely) limiting the amount of sodium, and increasing the amount of whole grains, in school lunches. They also shot down the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture to limit the amount of potatoes that are served to children.
Potatoes, while tasty and filling, are not nutritious in french fry form*. Excessive amounts of sodium, in anyone’s diet, is dangerous. The positive effects of eating breads and pastas made from whole grains instead of refined grains are well documented. I am baffled by the willingness of some members of Congress to flagrantly ignore science and health findings in favor of corporate interests, which, not surprisingly, are also commonly referred to as “campaign donors.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for kids eating pizza at school. In fact, Friday is my favorite day of the school week because it’s pizza day, and pizza day is the only day that I don’t have to pack a lunch. But I don’t send my kid to school on Friday and think that he’s going to eat a well-rounded meal. I am painfully aware that he’s going to get his excessively greasy little slice of cheese pizza and a container of milk and call it a day. By no means can that be considered a healthy lunch. It’s one day a week, it makes everyone happy, and I throw some extra fruits and veggies on his dinner plate, so I don’t worry about it too much.
But when it becomes the norm, we’re starting to walk down a dangerous path. We’re allowing, even encouraging, our kids to eat unhealthy foods. We’re teaching them to make poor choices in regards to their nutrition. And I fail to see how that’s a good thing.
You can read more about the bill here.
So tell me, how do you feel about this? Are you disappointed in Congress? Do you applaud them and think that government should stay out of school cafeterias?
*Originally, my statement was “Potatoes, while tasty and filling, are not nutritious.” As a commenter pointed out, this statement isn’t entirely true, so I amended that sentence to clarify what I meant by that statement.