Good vegetables are now on the menu

Published 5:48 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

Many years ago, when my only cousin was about 6 and I was a few years older, my aunt was a stickler for raising her only child in a healthy manner.

She always insisted that the way to a healthy body in young children was to be sure they ate their vegetables.

Many times I would go to their house about mealtime, and there at the dining room table all by herself, my young cousin would sit and stare at her dinner plate, loaded with vegetables she did not like nor have any desire to eat.

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My aunt insisted that her daughter would sit there at the table alone until she ate her vegetables, “or else.”

I never visited longer than a few minutes, because I knew that my cousin was in for a long siege at the table before “or else” was resolved.

It brings to mind the current law recently passed by Congress and signed by the President declaring pizza being designated vegetable status.

Yep, they really did it.

The vote in the House was 298 to 121. Who said there was deadlock in Washington?

This means that, in the school lunch program, kids can now get a healthy meal from regular servings of pizza, but it must contain at least a small amount of tomato sauce.

There’s always a catch.

What else are your kids having for lunch served from the school cafeteria, you ask?

They serve a lot of green beans, if you read the weekly school lunch menus published in this newspaper. I have often wondered, how many kids really come through the line at lunchtime, see the green beans on the menu, then opt out for whatever else is offered. My guess is, a lot of green beans end up in the dumpster. Kids will really have something to groan about now that pizza and green beans are offered as vegetables of the day.

I’ve noticed a lot of lunch menu selections that pop up routinely — tater tots, chicken nuggets, french fries and yes, pizza.

At our house, we have discovered that kids learn about nutrition at an early age.

A few weeks ago, our 7-year-old grandson spent the weekend with us. It was our charge to get him to an early soccer game on that Saturday morning. My duty, I believed, was to be sure he received a nutritious breakfast so he would have the energy for his game.

Not to worry.

He knew exactly what he needed for breakfast to give him the edge over the game’s rigorous competition. He found the candy dish, stuffed his mouth with as much of it as it would hold, then declared himself ready for competition.

Life may have been different for my cousin if pizza had been a vegetable when she was 6, sitting alone at the dining room table, a pizza supreme on her plate.

“Eat your vegetables,” my aunt would have said, “or else.”

My cousin was a very stubborn little girl. “Or else” or not, in no way was she going to give in to her mother and eat her vegetables.

Jim Smith writes a weekly column for The Post-Searchlight. Comment on this or anything else you want to rant about by sending an email to: