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May 26th
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Congress declares pizza a vegetable for school lunches

pizzakid111911_optBY PAM LOBLEY

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.


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Comments (13)
13 Friday, 02 December 2011 12:41
$200 a week on groceries for a family of four? That's about 65% of my monthly budget for a family of four. Must be nice to be able to afford 'healthier' food.
12 Sunday, 27 November 2011 20:53
High School Student
Really now? Make food healthier? Give me a break.

No matter what you do, kids make a choice. You can throw a bag of carrots in font of them and they will refuse to eat it and wait a good hour to get something they desire. When did the schools become the food police? Give kids a choice but don't force them. Who knows, maybe they ONLY eat fruits and healthy choices at home and when they get to school, they get to spoil themselves a bit.

Don't buy the junk at home? How is that going to help? Most kids have friends and some of those friends most likely have junk food. Once you start limiting someone to something they like, they'll just find alternative ways to get what they want.

Here's the better question: Would you rather spend more money on "healthy" food and then waste money on that by kids bringing in the junk they want, or just leave the lunches as they are now and spend more money on what really matters: an education.
11 Monday, 21 November 2011 03:42
That's like saying a burger is actually an animal because it has meat on it.

Things to do when visiting America
- See natural Pizza being plucked out of the ground.
- Watch how they herd burgers.
- Pick raw pasta from a spaghetti tree
1 - It's cheaper to give junk food two kids. reduced costs. Great.

2 - What some people see as health costs in the futurthey are not really health costs they are health profits...
the more sick people a country has, the more profit the health industry makes. In our current economical system this is good for the industry itself and for the country's economical indexes and therefore for the country's "economical health"...

Great economical system right? if we decide not to care about people, yes...
9 Monday, 21 November 2011 00:32
How fucking difficult is it to eat some carrots or cucumbers? C'mon son!
8 Sunday, 20 November 2011 19:49
Australian Pirate
Comment number 7:

"Everyone should stop complaining about how stupid congress is and actually do something about it. There is roughly 300 congress men and women in the US and oh about 8 million Americans let's say. That seems to tip the scales in our favor. I say stop bitching and do something about it! Viva la Revelution!!!!"

The population of U.S. citizens is 8 million? Really? I'm so glad you aren't a teacher, you're probably the 1 in 5 that can't point to the U.S. on a world map. The problem ultimately lies with both the parents and school cafeterias. I guess it comes down to the french fries vs. cucumber argument; if the temptation isn't there then people might actually start changing their eating habits. Unfortunately, eating healthy is a little more expensive. But hey, so are medical bills relating to obesity.
7 Sunday, 20 November 2011 19:46
You Can Blame Everyone For How Your Kids Are, That They Are Gaining Weight, And Are Not Doing So Great In School. Don't Curve The Grading System, And Let Them Eat What They Want.

The Problem Lies In That The Parents Buy Their Kids So Much Electronics, That The Only Way They Communicate Or Interact With Other Kids, Is Through Texting, And Internet, And Spend Most Of Their Days Watching TV. Take That All Away, And Force Them To Go Play Outside With Other Kids, Make Them Do Their Homework, And And Make Sure They Are Getting It.

Also, If They Mis-Behave, Give Them An Ass Whopping, Don't Let Other People Tell You How To Raise Your Children, That Is The Reason There Are So Many Kids That Always Miss-Behave, Are Rude To Others, And Never Listen. My Opinion Obviously.
6 Sunday, 20 November 2011 15:45
Everyone should stop complaining about how stupid congress is and actually do something about it. There is roughly 300 congress men and women in the US and oh about 8 million Americans let's say. That seems to tip the scales in our favor. I say stop bitching and do something about it! Viva la Revelution!!!!
5 Sunday, 20 November 2011 12:53
Wait a minute. . . your kids get a 20 minute lunch? Criminal. I would pull them out of that meat-grinder and put them in a school where someone making policy has actually studied child psychology, early childhood education and brain development. Seriously.
4 Sunday, 20 November 2011 08:09
so would that not make the pizza a fruit?! fuckin yanks
3 Sunday, 20 November 2011 02:06
i thought tomatoes were a fruit?
2 Saturday, 19 November 2011 18:41
Congress may think it's cheaper to feed kids garbage for lunch, but they should think about the medical costs for those kids when they're older and developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems, not to mention becoming obese, which creates a plethora of issues. I like the point about cucumbers vs fries; it's true, don't buy junk and your kids won't eat it as much. Make sure you have them eating healthy right from the start, their taste buds will get used to vegetables and whole grains. There's nothing wrong with dessert, I love pastries, but they are treats, and they are good quality pastries, not twinkies or some other trash that has no expiry date. Congress may not care about your kids' health, but let's take responsibility and start thinking for ourselves. Now, more than ever, we have access to so much information. Don't rely on money hungry politicians to tell you what's goof for you or your kids. Do the research and make healthy choices.
1 Saturday, 19 November 2011 16:59
Congress shouldn't even be having this discussion. This is ridiculous.

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