Well the word is out, the U.S. Congress has a bill in place that could effectively make pizza classify as a vegetable for kids and continue to be served (along with French Fries) in the education system as a vegetable.
As Michael Corleone would say, “just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!”
I have been thinking for a few years now that we are finally starting to get somewhere realizing that deep fried foods loaded with trans-fat probably aren’t good for our children.
There was a big push, particularly in Canada to remove junk food from the public education system — and if you think French Fries or Pizza are not junk, I’m surprised you’re reading this.
When I was in high school I’m not even sure you could get veggies from the cafeteria, the place stank of french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, and other substances that resemble food.
The last time I was in a high school cafeteria though, there were salads and raw veggie plates, they were pulling vending machines out and replacing them with water fountains. I considered this a significant leap in progress.
This is most certainly a step back though, apparently all it takes is for the frozen pizza manufacturers, the salt industry and potato farmers to band together, lobby the government, and why not?
How come you never hear about the broccoli industry or the frozen vegetable industry lobbying the government?
Surely the second factor at play here is the government feeling the sting of necessary cut-backs in the wake of such financial instability, so we might as well cross healthy food off our list?
One argument that continues to come up is that the government shouldn’t have to put it’s nose into nutrition, that people should have the freedom to do what they want and figure it out for themselves.
I would argue that it is the role of government to protect people from anything that may cause them harm, even if that thing is themselves.
For the most part we have no one to blame but ourselves for the state of our health and well-being.
Isn’t this exactly what we’ve done with driving under the influence or smoking?
Even though people should have the common sense not to do it, the government still stepped in to make sure that people were punished appropriately and that we built systems to deter people from drinking and driving or those under age from smoking.
Some pretty good law making if you ask me, so why should nutrition be any different?
Just because you know something is bad for you, doesn’t mean you won’t do it. If we have access to unhealthy foods, we’re going to eat them, that is just human behavior as we know it.
So the moral of the story is keep unhealthy foods out of your house, out of our schools and you’ll maintain a healthy body weight.
Learn environmental control skills and adopt environmentally friendly eating habits.
I’ll get you started.
Healthier Pizza Recipe*
Pizza is normally laden with trans-fat, full of unnecessary and highly processed ingredients.
This personal size pizza will leave you feeling full while coming in at about 600 calories for the entire thing, significantly less than the 1000+ calories of many pizza choices out there.
It also packs a wallop of lean protein and veggies.
What you’ll need:
- 1 lbs Lean Ground Beef (or other lean ground meat)
- Olive Oil Spray or Grape Seed Oil Spray (sometimes I like a tbsp of coconut oil too)
- 1 Large White Onion – Sliced thinly or small dice (or Red if you prefer)
- 1 Large Red Pepper – Sliced thinly or Small Dice
- 3-5 cloves of Garlic – Minced (depends on how much garlic you like)
- 2 Medium Tomatoes – Diced
- 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (Homemade or High Quality so check the labels! Low Sodium/Low Sugar preferred…)
- 1 Small Can of Pineapple Tidbits (or 1 cup of Fresh Pineapple in small dice)
- 1 Cup of Grated Aged White Cheddar (Make sure that measurement is grated…)
- 3 Whole Grain Tortillas (Or Gluten-Free Substitute)
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Cut and prepare all your veggies.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- With a non-stick frying pan (I like to use cast iron or stainless steel personally) on medium heat, spray the pan with the oil and add the ground meat with some salt and pepper.
- Brown the meat until cooked all the way through, discard to a strainer to get rid of any excess fat.
- Sweat the onions for a few minutes, then add the red pepper and the garlic, then cook about 1-2 minutes more. Everything should be slightly underdone.
- Stir back in the ground meat along with the tomatoes and BBQ sauce for 1 minute more and remove from heat.
- Dump the mixture out onto the tortillas, which should be on baking sheets of some kind and put the pineapple on top in whatever fancy design you like.
- Spread the cheese evenly over the 3 pizzas, remember it’s ‘healthy’ pizza so it should be just enough to keep the pizza together and not so much that you can’t see the ingredients underneath
- Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the tortilla shells appear light brown and the cheese is melted. You can go longer if you want more crunch in your crust.
See not that much longer than ordering a pizza and having to wait really, plus it’s a hell-of-a-lot more satisfying to eat something you created. Plus you can share, and possibly have left-overs for lunch tomorrow.
If you’re ambitious you can try to fit all those toppings onto 2 tortilla shells.
You can add some flare to this by using tomato salsa or a fruit salsa instead of BBQ sauce, or simply using the more traditional or flavoured tomato sauce or paste.
Different cheeses create different flavours, but I like strong cheeses like Cheddar, Gloucester, smoked Gouda, Chevre or aged Gruyere and the like, because you can use a lot less and get a lot of flavour still.
Add or change veggies if you like, zucchini works well instead of peppers, or use mushrooms instead of the pineapple.
Sometimes I like to add some fresh minced ginger in with the garlic too or some heat via a chili pepper.
You can also change the meat, try something like bison, lamb or turkey breast to change the flavour.
*Recipe adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, Gourmet Nutrition.