Pssst! Want some salt, kid?

“Healthy” cafeteria food is so bland that students are “bringing – and even selling – salt, pepper, and sugar” to make cafeteria food palatable, said John S. Payne, president of Blackford County School Board in Hartford City, Indiana, to a Senate subcommittee.

“Students are avoiding cafeteria food,” Payne said. “More students bring their lunch, and a few parents even ‘check out’ their child from campus, taking them to a local fast-food restaurant or home for lunch.”

Payne also said school fundraisers like bake sales, have been canceled due to the rules, and “whole-grain items and most of the broccoli end up in the trash” in his district.

Fewer children are eating school breakfasts and lunches, said Dr. Lynn Harvey, North Carolina’s chief of school nutrition services. “When it comes to whole grain-rich variations of biscuits, grits, crackers and cornbread, all too often, students simply toss them into the trash cans,” she said. New rules mean biscuits and muffins are “dense, compact, dry, and crumbly instead of light, moist, tender, and flaky.”

School lunch: Pizza is a vegetable

Pizza (with tomato sauce) will be a vegetable in school lunches under legislation proposed by Congress, reports Nirvi Shah in Ed Week. Remember the ketchup-as-a-vegetable flap in the Reagan era?

“It is not that a whole-grain, moderate-in-fat-and-sodium pizza can’t be a healthy food. It just isn’t a vegetable,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Legislators also ditched limits on starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, peas and lima beans, under pressure from Big Tater. (Senators from potato-growing states took the lead.)

The bill also bans the Agriculture Department from spending money to reduce sodium in school lunches.

French fries are no good without salt.