So America’s grocery manufacturers are saying that it’s OK for the Obama administration to regulate school lunches, but as far as improving offerings to the general public, they can do just fine without government intervention. We’ll take this on a believe-it-when-we-see-it basis.
We’ve just gotten back from the grocery store in search of healthy new breakfast treats for the kids, and we had to wade through sugar-laden cereal bars, sugar-laden yogurts, sugar-laden cereals with all sorts of dubious nutritional claims on the box, and some completely manufactured food substances that have never even occurred to us to eat (vanilla creme brulee and caramel corn rice cakes?). No wonder so many kids whose parents aren’t reading labels are veering toward obesity. You practically need a graduate degree in chemistry to decipher half of what’s being offered to you on the shelves. (And not to go back to good-old-days-type moping, but none of these products existed when we were kids.) The sad fact is, if it’s cheap to produce, and you can make it sound good enough for people to buy it, they’ll manufacture it. So beware, all you buyers out there. We’re not sure if any food manufacturer is really looking out for your best interests.
Speaking of kids and nutrition, the Senate is getting ready to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, which is one of the most important ways Congress has to influence what our kids eat during the day. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 would increase funding for childhood nutrition programs by $4.5 billion over ten years. That’s a lot of rice cakes, folks. We’ll come back to this issue again as it makes its way through Congress.