Should Potatoes be Banned from School Meals?

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Sure, the potato is a vegetable -- but does it mean it's nutritious?

That's the question at the center of a battle between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and public schools across the country.

The USDA wants to eliminate white potatoes from school breakfasts and to limit them sharply at lunch, to be counted as the one allowable cup of starchy vegetable per week (which also counts corn, peas, and lima beans in the grouping), the Wall Street Journal reports.

The proposal, if passed, would be put into effect in 2012-2013 school year. It's part of a push to make school meals healthier, adding more nutritious vegetables and drastically decreasing French fries.

But school cafeteria directors and lawmakers from potato-growing regions -- like in Iowa -- are fighting the proposal. Potato proponents even say the spud is a "true gateway vegetable" and could help lead kids to things like broccoli and spinch when they are used as potato toppings, according to the Journal.

When potatoes are served with sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter and bacon, though, they become problematic, one school nutrition project manager told the Journal. And health advocates and nutritionists say most people already eat enough potatoes, and that children should be encouraged to eat other veggies.

Do you think potatoes should be banned from school meals?

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