Candidly, we should all be very happy the Federal government has finally changed the food pyramid to a plate design with improved focus on fruits and vegetables. It’s a move long overdue. It simplifies an outdated, excessively complex system that people never really understood.

The former USDA Food Pyramid

But that said, what about creating and MANDATING nutrition education in our grade schools? Heck, this may seem critical, but having read recipes from many school kitchens, I can assure you that those commissaries don’t follow either the pyramid or the plate.

A typical school lunchHow about including a grading in every child’s academic score not only on the basis of tests, but on how many of their fruits and veggies they eat in the school cafeteria? Most parents would be very upset if their child failed Basic Nutrition and perhaps they’d be motivated to do something positive. How about forcing schools to limit the number of starches and sweets and providing more fruits and vegetables? Can you imagine that the photo here is a school lunch in New York City? Cheeseburgers, double orders of onion rings and fries? And this child is expected to grow up healthy?

Is it any wonder our kids are fat when they go to school and have a sandwich, French Fries and pie or cookies on their plate and no vegetables? Fried onion rings and fried potatoes with lots of ketchup doesn’t exactly make it a high vegetable diet – it makes it a high caloric, high carb, high fat diet – the antithesis of healthy eating. It’s easy to blame the fast food companies, which don’t help, but our schools are just as culpable, if not more so, for failing to teach children how to eat.

An obese family will produce obese childrenSchool boards and educators will balk saying that such education should be home based. Bollocks! If the parents didn’t learn this, how can they possibly teach their children? Evidence shows that if the parents are overweight, there’s an extremely high probability the children will be as well, and not on a genetic, but on a diet basis. Teach the children to eat right and they’ll break the cycle of bad eating.

If our schools cannot follow the new plate, and monitor what and how our children are eating, then we are literally doomed to have an obese nation. And boards of education should be subject to the same types of lawsuits brought by individuals and states for the cost of healthcare that the cigarette companies faced for cost of lung cancer.

Read more about the new plate at www.choosemyplate.gov.

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