Vegetarian Options Rising in SchoolsPosted on Aug 24th 2009 12:00PM by Bev Sklar
Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss
| Photo: PinkMoose, Flickr
Lunch ladies are serving up more meatless entrees such as vegetable burritos, lentil sauce with pasta, egg salad, vegetable cacciatore and stir fry. Even black bean brownies. Hmm, now there's a dessert with a potentially high yuck response, but commenters rave over these sugary squares of black beans at Eco Child's Play and this recipe variation, too.
Hip, hip, hooray -- there are more meatless entrees. But before you start cheering, the National School Lunch Program remains seriously at-risk in the wholesome foods department. Ann Cooper, aka renegade lunch lady, says the paltry $2.68 federal subsidy per free school meal served under the NSLP must be raised to $4 or $5 to properly equip school cafeterias to truly go healthy -- just one of her 10 guidelines to bring wholesome into schools. Dietitian Kathryn Strong's editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out the federal government's own School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study found 80 percent of schools don't comply with federal guidelines -- there's too much fatty food served up in cafeterias. Nutritionist Clare Miller noted not one school met recommended sodium limitations and few met recommendations for fiber.
School food service programs need more than $2.68 a meal. Keep in mind, only about $1 of that actually goes toward food, in a nation with record high childhood obesity levels -- 16 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese, school lunches need to be healthy, balanced meals, not empty fillers.
Good news if your child is a full-fledged vegetarian, the American Dietetic Association officially now approves.