Pasta Could Count As A Vegetable at East Texas School Lunches
A new school lunch loophole will let pasta count as a veggie, and starchy potatoes can count as fruits. And kids may have more opportunities to grab a burger for lunch without Mom and Dad finding out.
Every night at dinner I ask my girls what they had for lunch that day at school, and every Tuesday it's the same answer. "Pancakes." Seriously? Syrup-covered carbs again? Apparently, every Tuesday is breakfast-for-lunch at their elementary school and there are no eggs or veggies involved. It's sausage links, pancakes, and french toast every Tuesday. Some of the other options throughout the week are chicken nuggets, yogurt trio (yogurt, string cheese, and fruit), and pizza.
My middle schooler seems to have more of a buffet of choices than the elementary kids, and there are healthier options at the middle school, like salads. It sure seems like the elementary kids get lots of sweets, snackish meals, cheese, and breaded things, and very few veggies. My girls take their lunch once a week and they could opt to do that more often. But I kind of think school lunches are meant to be eaten, and they are time-savers for parents who don't want to pack a lunch for the next day after cooking dinner every night. It seems like there should be school lunch options that don't give the kids a sugar high.
My daughter who is 11 has noticed a change in school lunches over the past few years, and this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced proposed new rules for school lunches that would eliminate more of the regulations put in place during the Obama administration. They think the changes will help reduce food waste since the kids throw out vegetables they don't want.
People magazine said the new rules will count potatoes and other starchy vegetables as a fruit during breakfast, and will also count pasta as a vegetable if it's made of vegetable flour. The pasta doesn't have to be served with any other vegetables to qualify as a vegetable. Schools will also be able to sell more "ala carte" items like pizza and burgers more often.
I'm all for giving kids treats and letting them be kids, but burgers every day? All of the hard work teaching the kids to make healthy (or at least healthy-ish) choices could go right out the window if they're able to choose fat and sodium for lunch every single day.
If you have thoughts, the public comment period is open now and it will be open through March 23rd on the Federal Register website. After that, the new rules can become finalized.
This could be really good for the makers of lunch boxes, lunch bags, ice packs. Lunch may be coming from home a lot more often.