Saturday, October 02, 2004

I'll have the low-fat mystery meat

National School Lunch Week is coming up, October 11-15, and it sure does seem as though school lunches are much in the news these days. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see a news story on how nutritious those institutionalized meals are getting. Down with deep fat frying! Up with salads and fruit trays! Pizzas have whole-wheat crusts and ham is made with turkey and cheese is low-fat. Of course, if they really wanted to keep kids from eating too much and curb all that pesky childhood obesity, they might think about doing what the school cafeterias did when I was growing up: Make all the food taste really, really bad. Gray meat and limp veggies and lumpy potatoes seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping my classmates and I from over-indulging. My son mentioned today that he really likes his school lunches, and that's nothing you heard very often in my day. On the other hand, at this year's back-to-school night, the father of one of my son's classmates asked if it would be possible for his daughter to order two school lunches every day, because the servings were so small that she came home starving for snacks. So maybe today's school nutritionists do know a thing or two: Give the kids good food and not enough of it, so they'll do all their overeating when their parents can be blamed for it.

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