Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward

On Wednesday the Washington, DC City Council voted unanimously in favor of the DC Healthy Schools Meal Act, which establishes local nutritional standards for school meals and introduces more plant-based options and non-dairy beverages.

What’s so great about this?  Because our children are on a dangerous path and if something isn’t done soon, this will be the first generation that will not outlive their parents.  School lunches are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.  Not only will schools be providing healthier menu choices, the schools also must provide programs to educate food service workers, parents, and children about healthy eating and promote good dietary habits.

While any progress in the right direction is exciting, yesterday showed me that we’ve still got a long way to go until vegetarians and vegans will have equal food rights.  My family was at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida yesterday and there was only one restaurant that offered a vegetarian burger.  Most places offered salads that could be ordered without the meat, which is what I did, but you can only eat so many salads.  And I think it’s crap that you still get charged the full price!  Street vendors offered an array of variety – ice cream sandwiches, buttered popcorn, turkey legs, pretzels filled with cream cheese, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  What were the selections for vegetarians?  Little fruit and vegetable bowls.  I’m extremely pleased and thankful that Disney at least offers those because that’s what I snacked on the entire 12 hours we spent at the park.

Lunch was a little frustrating.  I ordered a greek salad and knowing that most greek salads come with feta cheese, I specifically asked the person taking the order if the salad came with cheese and he said NO.  When my salad came up what do you know… COVERED in FETA.  I was going to just deal with it but my dad, bless his heart, asked politely if we could get a new salad without the cheese.  The woman behind the counter was very kind and understanding and told us that it would be a few minutes because they had to “go across the street to get a new salad”?  I didn’t understand this, but I didn’t want to be any more of a pain in the butt so I smiled and nodded.  My salad came back looking absolutely delicious – kalmata olives, peppers, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and iceberg lettuce.  Stupidly I started slowly drizzling the greek salad dressing on my salad when after noticing the creamy white consistency of the dressing I stopped – I knew it contain milk.  Sure enough, I looked at the ingredients and BUTTERMILK was one of the first ingredients listed.  This time I scraped all the pieces tainted with the salad dressing and ate my salad without any dressing.

Going to Disney in the upcoming months?  Check out Walt Disney World Dining for Vegetarians and Vegans and AllEars, a Disney website that offers a comprehensive collection of current Disney food menus.

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