Federal School Lunch Program Gets Advice
It's not what you offer, it's what you don't. So says the Federal Government in its latest proposed changes to the 11-billion dollar Federal School Lunch Program, the first proposed changes in 15 years. All are in agreement that offering a healthy diet, one rich with variety, multi-colored veggies and adhering to the USDA MyPlate guidelines for healthy citizens over 2 years of age, as being a diet which provides the "most nutrition out of its calories" and one which emphasizes fruits and vegetables, should be the standard for American schoolchildren during the course of their school day. The description for a vegetable and what constitutes a serving of vegetables in the lunch of a school-age youngster in America, has thusfar been the question. Under the new proposed changes, a quarter cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza will no longer be considered a vegetable serving, for example, and further establishes greater proportions of a variety of nutrient-dense, fresh fruits and vegetables with fewer servings of starchy potatoes accounted for on the menu, and fewer salty foods.
While nutritionists agree with these changes as being healthier and advantageous, and families of the 30 million or so children who were fed free or subsidized meals on the program stand to benefit from these meals as being perhaps the only meals they may be offered during any given school day, some US food companies have spent upwards of $5.6 million so far lobbying against the proposed changes. Their argument being one that describes a program which maintains the currently established use of the potatoe and amounts of sodium that are more pleasing to the palate, as also being one that a child will eat, as well as one that is already understood by our nation's food industry. The idea being that school lunches would be less affordable under the new plan, and would provide lunches that too many children won't eat.Continued on the next page