Last week, I visited the White House to see the White House Garden and to chat about school lunch with Sam Kass, the Assistant White House Chef, and Frank DiPasquale the CEO of the School Nutrition Association.
Last week, Phil visited the White House to see the White House Garden and to chat about school lunch with Sam Kass, the Assistant White House Chef, and Frank DiPasquale the CEO of the School Nutrition Association. As the school year comes to a close, it seems that recent news and new legislation in Congress have put a brighter spotlight on school meals. Some stories have suggested that pizza is now a vegetable in school cafeterias, leaving parents and the public with questions about the nutrition of school meals. Phil asked Frank DiPasquale to share his insights:
He told Phil that, “Parents should know that starting this fall, school cafeterias will meet strong new standards requiring that school meals offer students a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk, and healthy entrees.” And that, “The debate about pizza is how tomato paste is counted under the new rules, but regardless, (and what many of have forgotten) schools will still offer kids an assortment of produce choices. We’re seeing farm to school and harvest of the month programs that teach students about healthy choices in the cafeteria and encourage kids to try new vegetables. Schools are offering salad bars or grab-and-go salads, and some are even allowing students to take as many fruits and vegetables as they like.”
What can we expect the new school year to bring? DiPasquale says, “School cafeterias have also turned kid favorites, like pizza, into healthy choices using leaner ingredients, more whole grains, baking instead of frying and even using herbs and spices to season foods instead of salt. These days, school pizza is made with a whole grain crust, low-fat cheese, reduced sodium sauce (a great source of lycopene) and often topped with (antioxidant rich) vegetables. With these healthy ingredients, school pizza delivers students a great source of calcium, fiber and protein. And since school meals always offer age-appropriate portion sizes, and fruit and vegetable sides, students learn how pizza can be part of a well-balanced meal.”