Pizza Granted Esteemed Vegetable Status in Schools

frozen pizzaWe came so close. After parents demanded real changes to make school food healthier, the USDA created new nutritional guidelines. Now kids would be served just one cup of starchy vegetables (like French fries) per week instead of every day. And this notion that the tomato paste in pizza counts as a vegetable? Fuggedaboutit!

But that's just a little too progressive for House Republicans. They're saying NO to us parents and yes to frozen pizza-making executives who demanded that they reject the USDA's new guidelines for school food. Pizza for everyone -- it is a vegetable after all! And America takes yet another evolutionary step backwards.

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And now, the spin: Supposedly this isn't about putting the needs of frozen pizza executives above the needs of children. Some conservatives are saying it's about stopping the government from telling children what to eat.

Can we please get real here? Why is it "telling kids what to eat" if we want to improve the nutritional quality of school meals? But if we just leave the food junky, it's not? WHAT IS IT ABOUT SERVING JUNK FOOD TO GROWING SCHOOL CHILDREN THAT MAKES IT MESSAGE-NEUTRAL, EXACTLY? 

Okay, deep breath. I just find this conflict so frustrating as a parent. It's hard enough doing my part to feed my son right -- and I'm not perfect. I've fed my son pizza for dinner banking on that tomato sauce. But I know better -- and so should House Republicans. At the very least I want them to stop making it harder to feed kids right.

The government is telling kids how to eat either way, whether schools serve pizza or carrots. And P.S., this being a democracy and all, the government is US. So the real question is, which message do we want to send our kids? Do we want our tax dollars to buy food that will make our next generation sick or strong? Do you want junk food execs setting nutritional guidelines or do we want actual nutritionists setting those guidelines?

Parents all over the country asked for healthier school food. The government needs to listen to us and stop telling kids to eat junk food.

Do you think the new school food nutritional guidelines should be junked or should Congress support them?

 

Image via Collin Anderson/Flickr

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