Why haven’t I posted in what seems like forever?
Because clearly I’ve been waiting for Congress to change the definition of a vegetable to include pizza, THAT’S why!
Yes, you read that right – a school lunch bill is aiming to count the tomato paste on pizza as a vegetable.
I really could end this post right there, because it is just preposterous enough as to defy further discussion, but I always enjoy these little forays into the realm of the ridiculous.
I could point out that this is amusing because tomatoes are actually a fruit, but I think that’s kind of a dodge.
The crux of the matter is that our school system really does buy into the nutritional value of food that, while admittedly tasty, is not exactly high on the list of healthy, natural foods. I can’t tell you how many gym teachers I’ve heard talk about how pizza really isn’t so bad – it’s a source of grains in the crust, protein in the cheese and yes, you guessed it, a source of vegetables in the sauce. That I haven’t punched anyone as a result of this, I believe, is a testament to my self-restraint.
In case I haven’t mentioned this openly in the past, pizza just so happens to be my absolute favorite food in the whole word (yes, contrary to what you may believe, fitness professionals like junk food, too). That said, I’m never going to try to convince schoolchildren that it’s healthy. Let’s be really honest… nothing in pizza is real. I don’t even know what kind of animal one gets pepperoni from (and maybe I’m okay with that).
We have a problem with what we feed kids. Did you know that the guidelines for the National School Lunch Program haven’t been updated in 15 years? Did you know that schools can only be funded by the program if they push kids to drink milk (and we wonder why kids are hitting puberty earlier than ever… perhaps we shouldn’t keep drinking cow’s milk long after their own babies have stopped)? Or that, according to their guidelines, french fries can be consumed in an unlimited quantity?
When I write posts about nutrition, I want you to know that, half the time, I don’t so much care what you or I eat. I’m just being honest. Sure, I want everyone, myself included, to eat more whole vegetables, fruits and meats, but I also know that we adults have decades of habits built up that make cutting some foods out of our diet about as easy as assembling a nuclear reactor in the dark (clearly something better-suited to the daylight hours).
Kids are where we can make a difference, and they’re the ones we’re harming the most. It’s not okay that the grain and dairy lobbies influence what goes into kids’ lunches, especially when those kids come from families that can’t afford to send them to school with a prepacked lunch.
So when I write a post like this, what am I trying to tell you? While it may not sound like the most constructive thing in the world, I want you to get ticked off about this stuff. I don’t even care what reason you choose. Do you care more that our government is complicit in harming our children or that they’re using your tax dollars to do it? I don’t care. I just want you to be less okay with the nonsense that’s allowed to go on in our schools regarding what our kids eat.
Things tend to get done when enough people get angry about something, not when everyone complacently shrugs it off.
So I’ll leave you with this happy question – what about pizza sauce counting as a vegetable makes you angry?
‘Til next time!