Are school burritos on their way out?It's been three decades since I tasted my first mystery meat burrito, served with a helping of mashed potatoes and a slurp of chocolate milk. Ah, school cafeteria food, where the culinary color spectrum consists of shades of yellow and brown. I didn't have much of a sophisticated palate back then, not to mention a sense of what was healthy and what was a nearly edible pile of crap wrapped up in a flour tortilla, but I can still remember recoiling from the pallid meat bag set before me.
Read More: 10 Tasty, Time-Saving Recipes from Family-Friendly Cookbooks
Fast forward to 2012 and most cafeterias in the U.S. are still dolling out lumps of salty, fat-drenched foods. So it was a bit of cold comfort yesterday when the Obama administration announced a final round of mandates for government subsidized school meals, rules that will ratchet up the amount of fruits and vegetables offered in school lunches and reduce the amount of salt and fat.
I say this news is cold comfort because the cynic in me wonders how long it will take for any real and meaningful change to take place in schools across the country. After all, this junk has been served in schools for decades, and it's taken shocking statistics like the fact that one in five of our kids are obese by age 5 paired with the muscle of a first lady to even make a dent in the system.
Read More: Should Severely Obese Children Be Placed in Foster Care?
Not only that, according to the News Tribune, "the announcement came months after the food industry won a vote in Congress to block the administration from carrying out an earlier proposal that would have reduced starchy foods like potatoes and prohibited schools from counting a small amount of tomato paste on a slice of pizza as a vegetable. Under the latest rules, potatoes are not restricted, and tomato paste can qualify as a vegetable serving."
Really? Thanks food industry lobbyists. Thanks Congress. We really appreciate you having children's best interests at heart. I'm sure tonight all of you will dine on a plates piled high with apathy and neglect with a side of tomato paste for good measure. Bon appétit!
What's your take on the future of school lunches? Do ghosts of past school launches still haunt your memories?
This post was written by Julie Douglas.
More Stories on Kids' Health and Food
20 Percent of Kids Are Overweight or Obese Before Age 5
McDonalds Adds Fruit & Veggies to Happy Meals. Should We Be Glad?
15 Tips to Beat Lunch Box Blahs