“Here's another news flash: pizza already is considered a vegetable. Or, rather, the tomato sauce on the pizza is counted as a vegetable for purposes of qualifying as a reimbursable "meal" under the USDA school nutrition guidelines. The USDA wanted to double up on the tomato, and the pizza companies objected, saying it would make the pizzas unpalatable.”
“I'd love to see a list of first-tier countries that provide free school meals to all school children, no questions asked.”
hp blogger Regina Weiss on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:21:49
“One such nation is Sweden - here's more on this from Poppendieck:
"When I observed school meals in Sweden, which has had the universal approach in grades I-9 since the 1930s (and in secondary schools as a local option), the program had no taint of poverty. It was lunchtime; children flocked to the cafeteria and ate; in most cases, so did their teachers. There was nothing for sale, so differences in purchasing power were not on display. No one was defined by whether or not they could afford to bypass the lunch line, and as far as I could see, no one did.”
“Nothing about this bill improves school meals. At most, it provides six additional cents to the federal reimbursement, currently @2.72 for a fully-subsidized lunch. That’s hardly more than what schools already receive through annual cost-of-living adjustments. And what most schools are serving is frozen, industrially processed convenience foods. The only thing that will really improve school lunches is a complete overhaul of school kitchens so they can start cooking from scratch.
There is nothing in this bill that targets obesity rates, and it does not improve nutrition standards. It merely calls on the secretary of agriculture to adopt new standards within three years. Who knows what kind of influence the food industry will exert on those standards, which currently do nothing to regulate the amount of sugar in school meals, for instance.
By giving the USDA authority to regulate all foods in school, not just in the subsidized meal line, this bill does represent a great leap forward. But let’s not get carried away. In most school jurisdictions, school lunch still sucks, and remains to be seen whether this bill will change that much at all.”
bllnsinchnge on Nov 22, 2010 at 21:37:40
“$2.78 is a ton of money, that does not include snack or brkfast item? ( I have worked for the contractors)
I am concerned a USDA regulation nationally will not be as useful as it would be left more locally. Shrimp might be a monthly item in Lake Charles Louisiana but not quite ideal for Montana. New Jersey could serve fresh corn in September, whereas Arizona might need another fresh choice.
All the schools kitchens were built around freezer to oven items, remember how grocery stores were in the 70's, all of those frozen aisles.”
Sep 22, 2010 at 10:10:17
“I'm a parent and food writer who has worked with schools here in the District of Columbia to remove flavored milk from the menu. For a variety of reasons, schools foster a culture of sugar in the federal meals program, something we found particularly shocking in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic. Unfortunately, schools kitchens are maintained in a state of perpetual poverty, often forcing them to rely on sugar as a means of providing the calories the federal government says children must be offered in order to qualify for federal reimbursements. We found that between chocolate or strawberry milk, Apple Jacks cereal, Pop-Tarts, Giant Goldfish Grahams and Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, kids as young as five were consuming the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar before classes even started. Sugar and refined carbs have been directly linked to obesity and a host of illnesses that threaten to bankrupt the country: diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and a surge in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children. We thought it was high time schools become part of the solution instead of enabling an addiction to sugar fostered by the processed food and dairy industries.
Research shows the best way to build strong bones is to exercise and the best way to get Vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. Parents should serve flavored milk at home, if they want, and we should all work harder to get kids to drink healthier plain milk.”
hp blogger Judith J. Wurtman, PhD on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:56:35
“I hear you, Ed. RE: your refined carbs comments - I've done a fair bit of work at MIT on the effects of carbohydrates and weight loss. There are formulas in the book I co-authored, The Serotonin Power Diet, that set forth how carbohydrate intake, in specific quantities and times of day, help boost serotonin production. As you may know, serotonin is the 'feel good' chemical in the brain that boosts mood and curbs appetite. I'm all for an overhaul of what's become standard fare in school cafeterias, but I believe that carbs have an important place in turning around our obesity epidemic.”
babybecks on Sep 22, 2010 at 12:59:02
“I agree with you about healthier foods. But from being a child, to this very day, I loathe the taste of white milk, don't drink chocolate either. Just the thought invokes my gag reflex. I'm not in favor of an all or nothing approach. Most of what we think is so great about milk is brought to you by the dairy industry.”
Camel54 on Sep 22, 2010 at 11:07:34
“Exactly. We make sweet, energy dense foods a normal part of every meal and that trains children to develop very poor habits. After all, Cookie Crisp is a part of this balanced breakfast. It is definitely easier to get kids to drink milk when it has sugar in it and to even convince yourself it's the only way your kid will get the nutrition they need, but the reality is that it's just easier. I'm guilty of it, I admit, infrequently, but Lord knows there are occasions when I just want to get from point A to B and the fastest path is the addition of Ovalteen to milk. My worry, though, is not the occasional exception. It is the standardization of junk as meals and I feel like flavored milks in school contributes to that. Because we all know it's not just a single meal being compromised on. The mentality in question makes it okay to do the same thing at every meal so what is defended as, "It's only lunch, and it's just a few teaspoons of sugar," is in reality 3 meals a day plus snacks adding up to massive amounts of sugar and other refined carbs.”
“This story about lead in the White House garden has taken on the garb of urban myth. First, the soil in the garden was tested by the National Park Service before the garden was installed. Second, the level of lead in that soil--93 parts per million--is ridiculously low and of no real concern whatsoever. This has been reported elsewhere: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009/06/white-house-kitchen-garden-as-media.html.
Master Gardener and co-founder, D.C. Urban Gardeners”