This week, another article about chocolate milk graced my desktop, and maybe you noticed it too. The New York Times reported that beginning in September, chocolate milk will be new and improved, touting fewer calories and less sugar. With almost 40% less sugar and about 30 less calories per cup, the hope is that this move will quell disgruntled parents while keeping the milk consumption of kids on par with their health needs.
Whether you agree with this move or not, it’s time for some perspective.
No matter whether kids drink flavored milk in schools, or whether they are getting “gallons of sugar” from these milks each year, the fact remains: sugar is EVERYWHERE.
This flavored milk thing feels a little bit like a witch hunt.
What next? No syrup for pancakes in restaurants? No birthday parties at school? No Halloween trick-or-treating? No movie theater candy? No donuts after church? No sweet treats at the soccer field? A ban of all desserts in restaurants? And the list goes on.
Regulating your child’s sugar consumption starts in the home, with you, the parent. It’s not up to the school or the church or the soccer coach or even the town to decide if and how much sweet food your child eats.
And this includes when your child is making choices outside of the home. From guidelines regarding which milk is acceptable to choose at school (and this conversation should start when kids begin to stay for lunch at school) and how frequently each week they are expected to drink it, to how many sweet foods may be eaten each day; these are guidelines and expectations –even boundaries–that are set in the home, by parents.
As a parent, you’re the governor, gatekeeper and moderator of how much sweet food and drink your child eats. And while it sure is easier to eliminate chocolate milk from school, in the end, it teaches children nothing about making balanced choices.
And herein lies the problem: kids aren’t learning about nutrition and how to make choices for life. So when will our nation put their efforts behind that?