Essential ingredient of healthy school lunches? Pizza and French fries

    By keeping pizza and french fries on school lunch lines, Congress may save business for frozen-food manufacturers, pizza-makers and potato growers, but it doesn’t do much to make school lunches healthier. What can parents do to help kids make better food choices?

    Congress is working to pass a bill that would keep pizza and french fries on school lunch lines.

    A revised spending bill released earlier this week blocks proposals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to limit the use of potatoes, restrict sodium content, and increase the use of whole grains in school lunches. 

    The USDA proposals would have also upped to a half-cup the amount of tomato paste necessary for a pizza to count as a serving of vegetables, but the bill keeps the amount to two tablespoons. 

    Is that cool with you? Tellus in the comments below.

    Some conservatives argue that the federal government has no place telling children what to eat and that the revised bill avoids “overly burdensome and costly regulations” and provides more flexibility for local school districts to control the nutritional quality of the food available to students.

    Is the argument too myopic? No matter how you slice it, if a pizza has two tablespoons or a half-cup of tomato paste, one piece does not qualify as a full serving of vegetables. And there’s much more to pizza than tomatoes.

    Congress may have saved school lunch sales for frozen-food manufacturers, pizza-makers and potato growers, but it didn’t do much to make school lunches healthier. 

    What are some steps parents can take to help their kids make better food choices?

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