Imitation Fries hit the menu in Arizona schools

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Day Care & Education

French fries are too greasy. Freedom fries have the same problem on top of being rather idiotic. Now there are fake fries. Arizona schools, faced with a strict law banning junk food and soda during the school day, have come up with a lower-calorie, baked alternative. They go by various names, including oven wedge, oven fry and potato stick. Regular fries disappeared from the regular lunch menu a number of years ago due to federal limits on fat and calories, but could be sold as side dishes. Now they're gone completely.

But fries are a little too much a part of kids' diets to give up without a fight. Chandler Unified School District food and nutrition supervisor Wes Delbridge, tested a number of different brands and even enlisted the help of other employees to try them. The fries had to bake quickly, avoid becoming soggy under warming lights and, of course, taste good. What they settled on looks just like a real fry, only lighter in color. Response from the students has been reasonably positive. Kelby Lytle, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Payne Junior High School in Queen Creek decided that "they're not bad, but I still like the old ones better. These are mushier." Meanwhile, seventh-grader Brock Davis was more positive. "They're good. I love them," was the conclusion.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.