In an effort to improve nutrition in schools and combat childhood obesity, L.A. Unified recently voted to remove chocolate and strawberry flavored milk from their beverage options as of July 1. Next to go may be corn dogs, chicken nuggets and other fried foods.
L.A. Unified School District is the largest in the country to vote in favor of a dairy contract that removes the sugar-filled beverages from school lunches. The district’s food services division serves 650,000 meals a day at 1,000 sites. There is a menu overhaul for the schools on the way, offering fewer fast food-like meals and more healthy vegetarian options.
The schools are looking to add California sushi rolls, spinach tortellini in butternut squash sauce and a variety of other healthy foods.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is among the reasons this movement has taken place in California and across the country. The second season of his show sparked much controversy when he headed to Los Angeles to check out school food menus and was banned from the school cafeterias. He filled a school bus with sand to give parents an understanding of how much sugar is consumed by children from flavored milk.
His show brought to attention the fact that one cup of fat free chocolate milk has 20 grams of sugar and a cup of strawberry milk has 26 grams, the same amount of sugar as a cup of Coke.
Some advocates of the flavored milk claim it’s better to have children drinking flavored milk than no milk at all, but maybe the real solution would be to introduce children to fat free or low fat milk, or even healthier options such as soy or almond milk. Get rid of the animal fat altogether and call it a success. Soy and almond milks are sweet without added sugars.
With one out of every three children in the U.S. either overweight or obese, you’d think school workers and parents would understand the impressionable age of school children and the importance of introducing them to healthy foods.
If your kid complains about no longer having chocolate milk at lunch, too bad. They’ll drink the plain milk, I assure you. When I was 8 years old and munching down sodium-packed tacos in the lunchroom, I’d grab whatever drink was available. If white milk was the only option, that was it.
It’s probably a crime to wire kids with all this sugar and unleash them on teachers, anyway.