School Lunch Overhaul Well Overdue, But Will it Happen?

Lessons learned this summer during our Buy Local Challenge, allowed my family to see the benefit of eating whole foods rather than processed foods, and how much better you feel doing so. Beyond supporting our local farming and small business community, we also ate healthier on whole. I read every article I can on slow food, local foods, and especially school lunches and what we can do to help make a difference. I absolutely never let my kids buy lunch at school, because I do not know how many ingredients are actually in those overly processed items, and how many I cannot even pronounce.

In an article from November 1st issue of The New York Times, School Lunch Proposals Set Off a Dispute by Ron Nixon, I read about the fight against changing the school lunch program. Here are some quotes that jumped out at me as ludicrous. Shouldn’t we be more concerned about the health of our future population rather than the bottom line of some corporation?

Corey Henry from The American Frozen Food Institute stated regarding new rules for tomato paste not counting as a vegetable: “You would basically render a pizza inedible if you had to put that much sauce on it to meet the new standards, and pizza is a big part of school lunches.”

My response to that is, why does the sauce on pizza have to count as a vegetable, shouldn’t an actual vegetable count as a serving of vegetables? And not just potatoes, because yes they may have some nutritional value but why not include more variety of fruits and vegetables as well. Aren’t schools about teaching? Shouldn’t we, the adults, teach children that variety is the spice of life? These corporate executives and lobbyists for the big Ag groups sound programmed to repeat terms that truly do not make sense. If all we offer children are fried potatoes, and over salted foods, they will never get a taste for the wonderful options that are out there. The people and groups that have issue with the proposed changes are the following:

The National Potato Council – Non-profit trade association working for the well being of the US potato industry on federal governmental issues.
Coca-Cola – A global leader in the beverage industry.
Del Monte Foods – Manufacturer and marketer of processed foods.
The American Frozen Food Institute – A national trade association that promotes the interests of all segments of the frozen food industry.