Today, Congress declared that pizza is passable as a vegetable. Pizza. A platter of bread, glazed with tomato paste and covered with cheese pizza. Pizza that can be up to 600 calories, 24g of fat and 1290 mg of sodium pizza (like a Pizza Hut cheese personal pan pizza). Why? Because it has 2 tbsp of tomato paste. So that’s supposed to count as a vegetable.
TOMATOES AREN’T EVEN VEGETABLES!!!
Yet pizza is? I really can’t begin to wrap my head around the ways this must have been justified. I really do want to get into the politics of the whole situation, but that’s a whole separate post unto itself. I will say, though, that this is a huge step backwards in the fight against childhood obesity, and the obesity epidemic as a whole.
Now I know there’s the easy solution: brownbag lunches for your kids. But that’s not realistic for every family, and that doesn’t resolve the greater problem of a lazy, appalling precedent. This is a green light for companies to pass off high fat, high sodium, high calorie foods as “healthy,” not JUST in schools, but in stores too.
But they already are! Vitamin Water is high in sugar, 100 calorie packs are still just carby-sugar snacks in controlled portions, granola bars often are low in fiber & protein and high in sugars… Do you see what I’m getting at here? We’re being duped!
Now sure, there are many of us who know better. We look at labels, we monitor what we bring into our homes and what our children are eating, but there are many others who don’t really think about it first. A lot of people trust what is advertised to them, just as a lot of parents trust schools and teachers not to harm their children while under their care. This is a serious breach of that trust.
This legislation proves that we as parents MUST take an active role in what our families consume and vote with our dollars. If that means waking up that extra half hour early to pack lunches, so be it. But what would be even better is to help an already growing movement get bigger.
I’m sure many of you have heard of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. What you may not know is that it wasn’t just a show, but an actual campaign to promote fresh, healthy foods in schools, with fantastic resources and support tools for everyday people who want to make a change. It’s a great place to find out what you, your friends, your school’s PTA and/or community can do to start your own revolution.
This is also a fantastic resource to contact your legislators: contactingthecongress.org
And of course, one of my favorite resources for anyone determined to lead a healthy life for themselves and their families is the Mamavation Sistahood. They’re a great group of moms (and now dads!) who encourage each other to lead their families’ to health and fitness by example, all through social media. There is no better place to start the path to healthier living than in your own home with your own family.
So what about you? What does this legislation mean to you and your family?