Here’s another example of the utter silliness around food policy in the US.
Tens of millions of kids receive government subsidized lunch every day in school. Sometimes breakfast too. The USDA sets nutrition criteria for the foods being served to kids. For example, there needs to be a certain amount of vegetable in every meal. The USDA is heavily lobbied by interest groups and, as a result, many meals are greasy, salty, and in many cases barely edible by the kids. And vegetable is usually … a french fry. All this is not new.
What is new, is that earlier this year, the USDA decided to make some improvements. One of them was the removal of potatoes from school meals, almost completely. Instead, dark leafy vegetables and The reasoning was that potatoes are usually served dripping in fat, either as fries or tater tots. Since these are fattening and almost totally devoid of nutritional value, better to get them off the menu, right?
Fast forward to earlier this week. The Senate voted to block any such limitation on potatoes being served in school. The move was led by Senators from, as you would guess, potato growing states. Millions of kids can breath a sigh of relief as the #1 Vegetable in the US will continue to be served…
What you need to know:
Potatoes are actually a very healthy food. It’s the processing into fries that tuns them into a nutrition disaster. But a baked or roasted potato can be not only tasty but also very healthy.
Potatoes have more potassium in them than bananas. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients. And they are low in calories.
And most importantly for school lunch, potatoes are VERY CHEAP.
In a system where funding resources are very lean, getting rid of potatoes seems silly. Instead of saying no to potatoes, how about guidelines that limit greasy potato products from being served in schools?