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School Lunches Get Healthier, But Pizza is Still A Vegetable

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff
Executive Director/CEO
Healthy Child Healthy World

Last week Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Rachael Ray announced new nutrition standards for school lunches, the first major change in school meals in over 15 years.

The program allots an additional six cents per school lunch—the first real increase in 30 years.  The new standards call for more whole grains and produce, as well as less sodium and fat, and are the first to be enacted as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, which was signed into law last year by President Obama. It will affect the nearly 32 million kids who participate in subsidized school lunch programs each day—many of whom get half their daily calories from these meals.

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Pizza is a Vegetable? Congress Chooses Lobbyists Over Healthy School Lunches

Sadly, Congress has chosen lobbyist money over kids’ health again, but at least the mainstream media is reporting it with headlines like “Pizza is a vegetable”.

Of course, we scoff when we hear such nonsense, but I can’t help but think of our homemade pizzas that are loaded with vegetables. Unfortunately, that is not what is served in schools across the country.

Earlier this year, the USDA issued new dietary guidelines for school lunches based upon recommendations by the Institute of Medicine from 2009.  School districts responded with large districts, like LA Unified,showing how it could be done.  Last month, my own little district passed a new board policy outlining healthier school meals, as well as supporting school gardens and farm-to-school programs.

Now, in an effort to weaken the new standards for school lunches, GOP Representatives want to classify pizza as a vegetable since there is tomato paste on the crust.  The GOP feels schools are “overburdened” by the new regulations, but truly our representatives are caving into lobbyists.

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