Boston Globe- The state Public Health Council this morning unanimously approved new rules aimed to improve the nutrition of food served in Massachusetts public schools. The nutrition standards, which take effect in the 2012-13 school year and are believed to be the strictest in the country, prohibit fried foods, sugary and artificially sweetened beverages, and foods high in sodium. The rules apply to food sold in vending machines, snack bars, and a la carte offerings in cafeterias.The council delayed a ban on flavored milk until August 2013, however, to give schools time to find other ways to encourage children to drink milk. Faced with the troubling numbers, lawmakers last year ordered the Department of Public Health to draft a healthier menu for students, and the resulting standards are heavy on low-fat snacks, whole-grain baked goods, fruits and vegetables.
Middle school was a miserable place. Whether it was the rogue boners or having to actually do work for grades that have exactly zero impact on where my life is now, I doubt anyone but a convicted pedophile has ever said “Man, did I really love middle school.” But there was one beacon of hope, one constant that remained to keep me sane amidst the Shawsankesque daily grind: the anarchistic collective that is the middle school cafeteria. Looking back on it, there’s an argument to be made that a restaurant serving leftover abortions (with the right seasoning) might be more appetizing than a public school lunch. But to seventh grade me, that burger baked in an oven (everything was somehow baked in an oven) with potato wedges, chocolate milk, and a piece of cake (first in line gets to pick the biggest one) was heavenly. With options like that, there’s no reason to waste valuable tray slot real estate on fruit cups and shitty vegetables. I’m not even going to get into the political argument about “the government knowing what’s best for its citizens Big Brother Illuminati blah blah blah.” All I know is it’s a sad day for America when the St. Patrick’s Day menu goes from “St. Chicken Patties with Irish Taters and Shamrock Cookie” to “Corned Beef Tofu with Low Sodium Cabbage And No Dessert.”