School districts everywhere are under pressure to clean up their lunch menus.
British chef Jamie Oliver’s successful “Food Revolution” TV show put the problems with American school lunches right in all our living rooms, making them a lot harder to ignore. Michelle Obama has made quelling childhood obesity her main mission as First Lady.
But are we taking all the fun out of school lunches in an effort to make them more nutritious? The Washington Post thinks so. Columnist Petula Devorak rants about school lunches taking chocolate milk off the menu.
“As far as I’m concerned, chocolate milk is not an indulgence,” she quotes one parent saying.
Here’s why it should be.
- As Dvorak readily acknowledges, it doubles the sugar in your kids’ cup of milk, and increases the caloric content from about 100 calories to about 140. Your kid really does not need an invisible dose of empty calories every day at lunchtime.
- We choose foods that are as sweet as our palates are acclimated to. If your child is constantly drinking sweetened beverages, she’s going to have a sweeter tooth than if she’s used to getting plain milk or water with her meals.
- Milk is already sweet.
Of course I love a cup of hot cocoa on a winter morning as much as the next person. Like all these things, the trick is to drink it in moderation. Taking chocolate milk off the list of default school lunch options seems like a great idea to me. The kids may not like it at first, but as they get used to it they’ll be drifting towards a healthier diet overall.
What do you think? Should schools serve chocolate milk?