Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DC Schools Remove Chocolate & Strawberry Milk, Nix Sugary Cereals

     I was happy to read early this afternoon that Jeffrey Mills, food service director, announced that the Washington DC school system would be pulling all flavored milk, chocolate included, as well as sugary cereals beginning with the fall 2010 school year. This is a huge step towards increasing the general health of our nation's population. A bonus to this is the fact that purchasing only regular milk will save the school district money as the flavored milks are a bit pricier.

To pull a few figures from the article, an eight ounce serving of low fat milk will contain around 12 grams of sugar found in the form of lactose, the chocolate equivalent contains 24 grams, and the strawberry flavor contains 28 grams (seven teaspoons).

When the point is made to parents and non-parents that companies are trying to grab a customer for life when they market towards children, they often dismiss the idea. Companies like Pizza Hut, Gatorade, Nike, Reebok, Kellogg's, and others pay school districts to carry their products and their brand. Period. When a child is given a choice of Pizza Hut (did you know they had these in some high school cafeterias?) or the regular Salisbury steak from the cafeteria line, what do you think they will choose?

A child learns what they grow up with, and Pizza Hut everyday is not an option any child should have on school grounds. If a child is given a plate at lunch everyday that is filled with whole, recognizable foods (chicken nuggets are not a food), nutritious options like fruit, yogurt, or cheese on the side, and bread or grains of some sort, a person will learn to love them as much as a child who grows up on McDonald's will love Big Macs when they grow up.
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