Pizza is Vegetable. Congress is Confusion.

More pizza please!

Some Americans are unsure about the latest controversy in school lunches. The LA Times reported that the USDA released a proposal targeting the concerns in cafeteria lunches,

One concern was that schoolchildren weren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables in their lunches and that the variety was too limited.

Tomato sauce could be pizza’s savior when looking for positives about the greasy cheese laden food. As a tomato lover myself I frequently request extra sauce on all pizzas I order from Papa Johns or out in restaurants. One thing I never did: eat cafeteria pizza.

Cafeteria Pizza

If you’ve ever eaten pizza from the cafeteria at work, college or elementary school you know these pizza’s usually have one thing in common: A lack of sauce. Most pizzas come frozen and are heated in an oven that takes roughly 5-10 minutes. The sauce is dried up and the cheese is sparkling with grease. The day I see a cafeteria pizza look like that delicious vegetable pizza on whole grains is the day we’ve truly fixed the school cafeteria’s pizza crisis. The caloric content may be surprising. With roughly 530 calories and 21 grams of fat in the average serving of cafeteria style pizza, Congress should be less concerned about tomatoes and more focused on the bigger picture. Offering a whole wheat crust with less cheese and more sauce is the best way to a healthier offering for our children. In order for the plan to work there will have to be quality control efforts on the pizza that every school serves to students in order to comply with any USDA requirements. It must contain the recommended amount of tomato sauce on every slice otherwise it’s a complete and total failure.

Dana Hammond of the Pittsburgh Food Examiner writes,

Still others argue that making the changes that The Agricultural Department are proposing will cost more money than schools have and create far more waste as children would be throwing away more food than they currently are.

There’s no evidence that children would throw out a saucier pizza, however Hammond makes a valid point that schools don’t have the money to increase food costs. If they did, kids would be eating top quality foods and there wouldn’t be a lack of variety. Like at your annual work Christmas parties. Who will eat these costs if the program does go into effect? We don’t know but we can sure speculate. As taxpayers you still have a little control left.

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