Well, folks, I finally had to have that uncomfortable conversation with my kids on Monday.
It was the final section of my 3rd grade FoodPrints class on Eating (at least) Five Fruits and Vegetables Every Day. As we reviewed students' One Day Food Journals to survey how many fruits and veggies students in the class had eaten in the previous 24 hours, students called out examples:
A handful of blueberries on my cereal! Yes.
Carrot sticks and ranch dip with my lunch! Well done.
An apple and some peanut butter for a snack! Same here, kid.
French fries! Excuse me? No. Try again. Technically potatoes are vegetables, but for our purposes, we're going to count them as starches.
But I had lots of ketchup on the fries! Excuse me??
Imagine the sound of tires screeching on asphalt. That is the sound that was in my head as I took a deep breath. All this time I thought this was an urban kitchen myth. People didn't ACTUALLY think ketchup counted as a vegetable... but apparently they did. I suppose I can't really blame the kids. They had some logic.
Ketchup is made out of tomatoes, and tomatoes are vegetables, another kiddo piped up.
Okay, class, let's be clear here. Ketchup is NOT a vegetable. It is mostly salt and corn syrup and Red Dye #5 and teeny, tiny little bit of tomato. Repeat after me: KETCHUP IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
Ketchup is not a vegetable.
Ketchup is not a vegetable!
One more time.
Ketchup is NOT a vegetable!
Good. Now let's move on to preparing our three seasonal salads...using actual vegetables.