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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Plain Milk vs Chocolate Controversy

Last night I was on Twitter, when Jamie Oliver posted a link to this article, along with the tweet, " These guys are the ones that make decisions for your kids health & they still totally dont get it".

I popped over to see what it was about, and there is the whole regular milk vs flavored milk thing again.

What is the big deal, really? Milk is milk, right? Is making it chocolate or strawberry that big a deal? The kids drink it, so what's the problem?

Here's the thing; when Mr. Oliver kept stating in Food Revolution about the amount of sugar in flavored milk, he wasn't that far off. I went to the store and compared the sugar in a small can of Coke vs Dairyland Chocolate Milk, and they were very close (not going to quote them here because I can't remember, but I will find out and edit to add them).

Now I'm not the sugar police. I believe in everything in moderation, including sugar. What bugs me with this whole plain milk vs flavored thing is this:

Milk is a wholesome, natural food. Left in it's natural white state, kids WILL drink it. Kinda like water, or strawberries. They are good for you just as is, right? Now if I add a pile of sugar and flavorings to that water to make it taste better, and only serve that to my child, or dip those strawberries in chocolate and serve only those, it stands to reason that my child will PREFER the sweetened versions. Why not?! We all love sweet things!

Should we reason that well...kids will eat more strawberries if we dip them in chocolate, so that is how they should be served all the time? Maybe the healthful parts of the strawberries cancel out the unnecessary fat, calories, and sugar of the chocolate. Nevermind that the kids will likely never want strawberries any other way. Or that they will be used to something more artificial and processed than the real, wholesome, natural item. Why the heck would they ever want plain when they can have chocolate dipped? In fact, they might forget what plain tastes like or (gasp) never have had a plain one before!

Maybe you think I'm crazy. That's okay with me. But I think that dressing up a healthy food in a sugar coating and then claiming that it's okay because kids will eat more of it that way is a colossal, steaming, pile o' BULLSHIT.

What they've created instead is a bunch of kids who now are craving a sugar fix, and their parents are helping by sending in sodas when the flavored milk is gone. An answer to that one? Ban the soda, thank you very much.

What made me laugh was this quote at the end by Richard Goff, director of the child nutrition program for the education department. He said, "Sometimes we as adults want to speak for children. We must make meals appealing to our children."

Right. We want to make the meals appealing to them to a point, yes. On the other hand there is a difference between making them appealing and giving in to just keep them, and their parents, happy.

Sometimes we as adults have to ACT like the adults and limit the kid's choices based on what is healthy for them, even if it means those kids will put up a bit of a fight initially. In the end, they'll get use to it. Maybe they'll drink water instead but you don't even give them the chance to change when all you do is give in because, why? They aren't buying milk?

Hmmm. Drop in revenue, maybe? Something tells me this is about more than just milk. It sounds to me more like there is dent in the cash COW of the flavored milk, and this has nothing with making kids happy and their meals more appealing. (Pun totally intended)

What do you think? What does YOUR child's school do? Does it bother you? Unless parents yell and make some noise, change won't happen. Get a revolution going in YOUR school!


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