1/14/11

So are those orange 'faux fries' healthier? Maybe Not.

If you have kids in the public school system you've probably noticed a turn towards supposedly 'healthier' eating in their lunch room to curb a national obesity problem. I could get all political here because I have strong opinions about how our school lunches are not the issue... but let's skip that go directly to whether or not what they are doing is truly better.

My own kids high school stopped serving french fries and instead serve yams and sweet potatoes cut up and baked as fake fries.

I personally don't like sweet potatoes.  Sorry all you yam and sweet potato fans out there;  I really don't.  I never have.  Ever.  Not even at Thanksgiving.  There is only one way I like them;  mashed and made into a 'sweet potato pie' like a pumpkin pie.  Other than that, I really don't like the taste of them. 

So I took note when the school stopped serving french fries in lieu of orange fries.  Instead of a nice crispy french fry they now serve wilted, soft, baked orange sticks they call 'fries' and 99% of the kids toss them directly into the trash.

I asked my two high schoolers how many kids are eating them - sure enough they see about 1 kid for every 2-3 large round tables of students in their lunch room. No one likes them.

This is just ONE example of the dumb changes implemented but when I read some information about sweet potatoes last week I found this interesting;


Myth #2: Sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes
Reality: They’re both healthy!


Sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium.


As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren't eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter—all toppings that contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.


So, if this true, the schools are doing little more than wasting tons of food. Their white potato french fries are not ate (in school) with sour cream or cheese. Kids eat them plain or with ketchup; so? Healthy enough in their own right and more healthy than throwing their food into the trash.

Hmmmm.
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