They’re Working On the Problem, But It Isn’t Working

Posted by Lloyd on February 24, 2012

Some states or districts have adopted Food Pyramid Choice Menus (FPCM). According to the Oregon Department of Education, students in schools offering FPCM are given the daily opportunity to self-select lunches from a minimum of three entrees, six or more fruit and vegetable choices (including salad bar offerings), three bread/grain items (preferably one whole grain) and two types of low-fat milk.

An important positive of letting students choose their food is that it cuts waste; they’re more likely to eat what they select. But how nutritious are the selections? We queried a spokesman at the Department of Agriculture, which prescribes and monitors nutritional content of food programs for schools, day care, senior programs, and other such projects receiving federal funding or oversight.

“Yes, it’s true that hot dogs and fried potato products are not allowed more than twice a month at day care providers,” came the answer. “But that restriction does not apply to school lunches. Schools can serve hot dogs every day if they want.”

The Oregon Department of Education concurred. “Hot dogs, corn dogs, or chicken nuggets can be entree choices. If a child wants a corn dog every day, that’s his choice.” The guidelines require that good choices have to be offered, but kids do not have to choose them.

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