NOW THAT’S FUNNY
Yes, Congress has affirmed that pizza is, indeed, a vegetable. And, in a related story, they’ve declared Chris Christie Mr. Olympia.
Actually, the truth is that Congress had ALREADY said pizza was a vegetable, or rather, that the tomato paste used on the pizza is a vegetable. You see, when you and I order pizza, it has tomato SAUCE on it. But school lunches have tomato PASTE.
Are you familiar with tomato paste? It’s that gelatinous stuff that comes in tiny cans. Let me read to you from my label of Cento Tomato Paste: a two tablespoon serving (that’s what is on each slice of pizza in school lunches) has 10 percent of your daily recommended requirement of Vitamins A and C; it also has 5 grams of sugar. The ingredients don’t list any added sugars, so I’m assuming that those are sugars naturally found in tomatoes. Tomatoes are a fruit, so truthfully, there are no vegetables in tomato paste.
The USDA is attempting to change the rules about school lunches. They want less tomato paste, which would eliminate pizza, and they want a limit on starchy vegetables: corn, peas and potatoes. That means no French fries. Congress is blocking all these recommendations to keep the lunches as they are.
Their reasoning seems to be that making lunches healthier is too expensive, and the reason they think that is because the potato lobby, the processed foods lobby, and a variety of other Big Fat Butt lobbies told them so.
Look, it’s hard to get kids to eat right. My kids agree with Congress that pizza is a vegetable. In fact, my kids think Lucky Charms Cereal is a vegetable. I can’t get my kids to eat salad, so why do I think the school cafeteria can?
Congress has a tough job – they have to feed a bunch of kids healthy meals every day on a tight budget.
Hey, that’s what I do! And yes, it’s expensive. My food bill is $200 a week for four of us, and that’s with careful planning and plenty of cooking from scratch every night.
The only thing I’ve learned about kids and food is this. Don’t give them bad choices. If they can choose between sliced cucumber and French fries, what do you think they’re going to pick? What would you pick?
To me, lunch is the easiest to regulate. I pack it in their lunchbox, and that’s all they have to eat all day. There is no other food in their elementary schools, even if there was, they would need money to buy it. I don’t give them money. I give them water or a fortified juice, a sandwich on whole wheat bread, some type of fruit, and a small dessert. No chips, no fries. They only have 20 minutes to eat it anyway, because their day is so packed. They eat it all.
Congress is such a bunch of bozos. If they want to improve their image, they should allow the healthier guidelines to pass. Stand up to the food lobbyists! Make speeches about how you are striking a blow against big business and for our most vulnerable children. Get misty about how obesity is robbing our children of their futures. Be seen in public peeling and eating an orange.
Then, when the potato and tomato paste industries start to go under, just vote them a bailout.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Follow her on twitter @plobley.