It’s not just the food, it’s the message…
If you haven’t seen the news, Congress, in their infinite wisdom, has declared pizza a vegetable. And I am so frustrated and disappointed.
The best thing about kids is how they’re little sponges. And the hardest thing about kids is that they’re little sponges. They learn by absorbing what they see. So not only are they failing to receive adequate nutrients from the school lunches, but they are getting a template for how to feed their bodies. And I, for one, think that’s a recipe for disaster.
Now, before someone says that I’m blowing this out of proportion, I have taught children’s cooking classes in inner cities where the common belief is that broccoli comes from Safeway. There’s no sense of a connection to where it’s grown, or how it comes to show up at the grocery store. I grew up in a suburb of NYC, and I never saw actual live growing broccoli until I was in my 20s. Many children will still learn to appreciate good, real food at home, but especially the ones that DON’T have that opportunity NEED that opportunity at school!
Somewhere along the way, we’re going to realize that kids’ nutrition is not just a health issue, but a matter of national security. Somehow I doubt that considering pizza as a vegetable is going to help grow strong, health human beings who are physically fit and capable. For many, school meals may be the main opportunity for balanced meals, and this isn’t the way to make that happen.
This isn’t to demonize pizza. It can absolutely be part of a healthy, balanced diet. But it’s simply not a vegetable. Period.
To read more, see Food Politics.