Think back to your grammar school days and what’s the first menu item that comes to mind? Tater tots, corn, sloppy Joes or pizza?
Amazingly, not much has changed since we were all in school (at least in terms of what is unceremoniously scooped onto institutional lunch trays) but it’s pretty safe to say that green stuff rarely makes an appearance.
Fortunately, our nation’s children have a dietary champion not only in British chef Jamie Oliver, first lady Michelle Obama but also in perky 30 Minute Meals maven Rachel Ray, all of whom are determined to make vegetables a part of the daily vernacular.
Ray, the latest high-profile personality to step into the school cafeteria forum, is now lobbying Capitol Hill senators to budget far more than their current ‘stingy’ 6 cent increase per child toward healthful meals, insisting that an extra 70 cents for each meal will actually enable schools to purchase better quality, nutrient dense foods.
Recently in attendance at an event to promote the cultivation of city school gardens, Ray probably expected New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg to share her enthusiasm for the hands-on-approach to healthfully and economically augmenting the diets of school age children.
When the third term public servant was asked what his favorite vegetable was while in the presence of many school children, he responded: “I like most vegetables” but “I’m not big on a handful of them.”
However, he enthusiastically praised steak, which prompted the kiddies and adults within earshot to giggle. Way to be a positive dietary role model, mayor!
This isn’t the first time that Bloomberg has sung the praises of a less healthful food, as was the case when he declared in front of a Union Square Greenmarket crowd that iceberg lettuce was indeed his favorite veggie.
Here’s a news flash for the New York City law maker. Iceberg lettuce is among the least nutritious greens, containing approximately 1 gram of dietary fiber and 1 gram of protein per cup as well as 7% vitamin A, 3% vitamin C, 2% iron, 1% calcium and trace amounts of folate, vitamin K, manganese and potassium.
Maybe someone should coach him on spouting out a more sensible favorite for any future inquiries…like spinach or arugula (the latter of which he reportedly dissed when it was served to him at a recent White House state dinner). I’d hate to see what his arteries look like on the inside!