It’s true! As the New York Times reported in its piece, Congress Blocks New Rules on School Lunches, a slice of pizza remains equivalent to 1 serving of vegetable due to the amount of tomato paste on the pizza.
A bill that would have increased nutrition standards in school lunches was defeated. It seems that the health of our nation’s children is not as important as lobbying efforts and campaign contributions from major manufacturers of processed food-stuff such as ConAgra, Coca-Cola, Del Monte Foods and makers of frozen pizza like Schwan.
At least more fruits have been added to school lunches since SunnyD was declared an orange. (<–That one’s a joke)
The heart of this matter is all about the price of school lunches. Opponents of the bill argue that requiring more stringent nutritional standards would increase the costs of meals. This argument holds some validity on the surface, but if you look into they types of foods that are being subsidized by the federal government, you’ll see that corn and wheat (the darlings of the processed food industry) are receiving over 8 billion dollars of subsidy in 2005 dollars, while fruits and vegetables don’t even receive enough to mention. Of course corn and wheat are cheaper than fruit – the government is paying for their production.
At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our children about proper nutrition and then to follow through with practicing that knowledge, but it’s frustrating when our own government does not have our best interests in mind.
I’m well aware that corporations employ millions of people and pay competitive wages that allow many of us to feed ourselves in the first place, but I will bet money that other monkeys can tell the difference between a vegetable and a slice of pizza!
Healthy habits are a lot easier to follow when they’re ingrained into us at a young age, and unfortunately, so are unhealthy ones.