Got sugar? Chances are, your kids do. Sugary, flavored milk is increasingly given to children twice a day in their school cafeterias.
An open letter to the Cheshire (CT) Board of Education:
Kids today get bombarded by junk food, but do they really need to be served sugary drinks during breakfast and lunch at school? Please remove sugary, flavored milk from Cheshire schools.
Some people will claim that serving sugary milk is nutritious because kids will not drink plain milk. Schools such as those in Boulder, Colo., that only offer plain milk, though, saw the levels of milk consumption go back up after initially dipping. Also, most American kids get plenty of dairy, and there are healthier ways for them to get their calcium than drinking sugary milk.
“Saying we need to add sugar and flavoring to milk to get kids to drink it is like saying we need to feed kids apple pie if they don’t like apples,” said Ann Cooper, the Boulder, Colo., school food director, as quoted in the New York Times.
In addition to all the unnecessary added sugar, serving kids flavored milk at school teaches the wrong lesson that sugar needs to be added to something for it to be tasty. One of my sons, a sweets maniac, is perfectly happy to drink plain milk when it’s the only thing available. Give him a choice, though, and he will always choose chocolate. That choice is fine as an occasional treat, but it shouldn’t be given by the school system for two meals a day for 180 days a year. That’s junk, and it’s teaching kids to get hooked on sugar.
Research in support of serving flavored milk at school is funded by the dairy industry, which has an expensive advertising campaign to push sugary milk in schools. Cheshire’s nutrition services director, Ms. Madeleine Diker, cited only this research in support of Cheshire’s decision to serve sugary milk. Cheshire’s children deserve better. A serving of strawberry milk has as much sugar as a serving of Coke (some of it occurs naturally in the form of lactose). Just like soda was once considered all right to have at school but was then removed over health concerns, it’s time for flavored milk to go.
I know that we all want what is best for Cheshire’s children. Please remove flavored milk from Cheshire schools.
What do you think? Should flavored milk be served to schoolchildren?
For further reading:
- A School Fight Over Chocolate Milk
- Flavored milks: Good or bad? You decide
- L.A. Unified removes flavored milk from menus
- Our kids don’t need sugar in milk!
- Raise your hand for chocolate milk?