I hope that most of you had the same reaction when you heard that Congress proposed to consider pizza as a vegetable on school lunch programs.
“Well Of Course, that’s convenient.”
According to Congress, eating pizza, or more accurately the tomato paste in the sauce, was a sufficient amount of vegetable intake for one meal. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t agree at all. I am just not surprised. During the past three decades the United States has seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence to obesity. And one contributing factor to that is the lack of healthy eating among children.
So yeah… it just makes sense to set the bar lower for our children. I mean why not? America is already fat why not just keep the reputation going? Surveys from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that only 33 percent of adults meet the fruit consumption target and only 27 percent eat the recommended amount of vegetables. The statistics are worse for high school students — only 32 percent eat the recommended amount of fruit and 13 percent meet the goal for vegetables. Do you see what I am saying now?
I am not a parent but I am from the generation of “unhealthy eating.” From Kindergarten straight through college there was no junk food in our house. None of our meals were made “out of a box” or bought pre made- every meal was cooked by my mother. In elementry school and middle school I brought my lunch. It was usually a sandwhich and some snacks or leftovers from the night before. I sometimes would even get crepes and my friends would beg to trade. As I got older, it was “a thing” to go buy your lunch. You and your friends would all go together to the cafeteria, wait in line together and decide what you wanted. There was always the same option: a line for Pizza, Sandwiches and wraps and then the “hot food of the day”. I will admit I had pizza for lunch a fair amount of times and I really did not think anything of it. I was not over weight, I played sports and I had no knowledge of what was healthy and good for me- I just wanted what I was in the mood for.
Sometimes I would go to my friends houses and binge on Oreos and easy mac-thinking “I wish my mom bought this stuff.” But again, I just wanted it because it tasted good- I had no idea the preservatives and fats that came along with it.
My point is… all parents can do is insist and teach their kids how to eat better. Making them breakfast and dinner helps but maybe explaining why what they are eating is good for you. If you choose to give your child money for lunch suggest what they can buy. Remind them that just because they are slim or skinny dosen’t make them they are healthy.
As for pizza- We all know the pizza at schools are either frozen or made with low quality ingredients. So if your kid is a pizza lover- make pizza at home! Show your kids what a healthy pizza looks like.
Eating Well has great healthy recipes and some good ideas for healthy toppings. Check it out and try some at home!