Is Pizza a Vegetable?


Did you know, if you live in the United States and your children ate a slice of pizza for lunch at school, it would count towards the recommended 5 to 10 servings of vegetables they’€™re meant to eat each day?
Well, maybe not the pizza itself, but the tomato paste slathered on each slice is going to continue to be recognized as produce, according to the United States congress.

Last week, the American Congress voted for a bill that keeps the pizza on school lunch menus classified as a vegetable because of the approximate two tablespoons of tomato sauce (per slice) found in the ingredients list. The Department of Agriculture wanted that amount upped to ¼ cup per serving in order for it to qualify. However, last week the US House of Representatives refuted the request and determined that as long as there is ⅛ cup of sauce per serving, it can continue to be called a vegetable.

Naturally, plenty of parents are outraged. With childhood obesity rates on the rise, they would prefer pizza and French fries be removed from lunch menus altogether, instead of being falsely categorized as healthy options. If tomato paste is considered a vegetable, is it also fair to say that a glass of wine offers a serving of fruit? And not to be picky, but a tomato is technically a fruit, so why it is being considered a vegetable is even more confusing. But I digress’€¦

My kids don’€™t have a cafeteria at school, so they either pack a lunch or come home and eat with me. At least once a week I make them a pita/English muffin/panini pizza. I don’€™t consider that I’€™m feeding my kids poorly because I give them this option (which they love), but I’€™m also confident that I’€™m not offering them any fruits and/or vegetables. I serve those alongside the pizza because, let’€™s be honest, even a few slices of mushroom or some chopped spinach isn’€™t going to amount to much nutrition when used as a topping on pizza.

Do you consider the tomato sauce on a piece of pizza equivalent to a serving of vegetables (or fruit)? Are we being too sensitive? And who should decide what is acceptable for our kids to eat’€”the parents or the government?


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