Right Opinion

The Government Says to Eat Your Vegetables

Parissa Sedghi · Feb. 20, 2020

Growing up we’ve all been told by our parents that eating our vegetables will make us big and strong. Now the government wants to force us to eat our vegetables. I don’t think so.

You may remember when the Obamas were in office, Michelle’s big program was “Let’s Move!” She tried to promote a healthy lifestyle for our children. While I commend her for wanting to help others in their struggles to get healthy,  it is not the government’s job to mandate what our kids can and can’t eat at school — even the food they bring from home. Parents, not bureaucrats, know what’s really best for their kids.

School systems have become invested with both partisan and identity politics. The big-government folks and the “I know better than you crowd” want the school system, rather than parents, to raise our children. Thankfully, President Trump is fighting back.

Under Trump, the USDA recently announced plans to modify certain rules of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, commonly known as the Michelle Obama lunch program. The rollbacks would enable — though not require — schools to decrease fruit and vegetable servings and have more flexibility to serve additional foods in place of vegetables. Ultimately, the rollbacks would allow individual school districts to take back control and have more of a say regarding how they can best serve their students.

Critics of the proposed rollbacks argue that the modifications will increase the amount of unhealthy food on children’s plates and, in the long run, perpetuate childhood obesity. But, in reality, the rollbacks are not part of some malicious effort to upend the health of American children. Rather, they are practical measures intended to reduce waste, cut costs for cash-strapped school districts, and ensure that kids are even eating at all. I thought liberals were all for sustainability?

A 2019 USDA study found that kids are trashing about a third of the vegetables on their plates. Milk, fruit, and grains trail closely behind, with about a quarter of each item more likely to end up in the trashcan than in stomachs. Parents should be especially alarmed to learn that a majority of children are not eating full meals on the school-lunch program. If children are still hungry after lunch, how can they be expected to focus in class?

Still, a bigger question looms: Since when did it become the government’s job to tell us how and what to feed our children? When did parents start entrusting schools with the health of our children? What’s next?

As parents, we must remember that good, healthy habits start at home. While we entrust the formal education of our children to schools,  learning should not stop at home. In fact, home should be the place where education begins. We cannot rely on schools to raise our children — that is a privilege reserved for parents. Sadly, the “I know better than you” crowd is averse to the concept of parental responsibility — or worse, they want to be in control.

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