Food Fight in Congress Over School Lunches

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There’s a food fight going on in Congress over our kids’ school lunches, and it looks like the pizza and french fries fans are going to win over the veggie proponents. Where are the grown-ups? Well, they seem to be in two opposing camps: Those backed by the potato, frozen pizza and salt industry and those who make their living in science, medicine and health, as well as a group of retired generals.

Here’s what’s happening: The fate of the Obama Administration’s push to take unhealthy food out of the school cafeteria depends on how Congress votes in a spending bill before Congress. The food companies that produce frozen pizzas, salt and potatoes have lobbied Congress for changes and now the final version of the bill released last Monday would block or delay school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year, according to the Associated Press. Those standards limit using potatoes, restrict salt and increase whole grains in school lunches, according to the AP. The bill would also allow meager amounts of tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable.

The healthy school lunch proposal now trying to see the light of day is backed by the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and even a group of retired generals, according to the AP. I’d listen to those experts when it comes to eating right.

Pizza and french fries in school lunches will only fuel childhood obesity, already a big problem. And we all know good nutrition is key to preventing illness. Junk food is not what I want for my kids. And with 14.5 percent of U.S. households unable to buy enough food for part of last year, we should be offering low-income children the healthiest foods available at school, where they may be having their only meal of the day.

In homes across America, there’s a lobby around the dinner table that determines who eat their peas, carrots and salad. Let’s stretch our arms across to Washington and push junk food out of school cafeterias.

Looking to pack a healthier school lunch for your child? See Bag it or Buy it? Healthy Student Lunches. Gain tips foreating healthy even when you’re on a budget, including these dietician-approved resources.

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