Open thread: Beverages at school

What kids drink at school is just about as important as what they eat.

1) Milk – I don’t drink milk anymore myself. But I support milk for kids when it’s hormone-free (which I don’t think it is in my district). Among the readers there seems to be a bunch of folks who prefer full-fat and those that don’t. Personally I support full fat. The reason is that it appears that eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Additionally, it’s a good source of fat (better than trans fat) and there doesn’t seem to be enough good fat in the school lunches I eat. See my previous post on milk for ingredients.

2) Water – Regular fountain access (water of dubious quality) and bottles sent from home (or bought in high school). I will post about school water next week.

3) Juice – Offered as the “fruit” in many of the lunches I ate. Additionally juice boxes are a popular home lunch box item. I’m planning a post on juice boxes too….

4) Sports drinks – Not available in elementary school, but are prevalent among student-athletes.

5) Soda? (pop?) – Banned in the majority of elementary schools and some high schools. Is it still offered in a lot of high schools?

Am I missing any? Please discuss drinks at school…

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62 thoughts on “Open thread: Beverages at school

  1. We serve 1% white milk, sometimes 2% as well as chocolate and strawberry milk. I would LOVE for them to eliminate the chocolate and strawberry because of the added sugar. Unfortunately seeing how some kids freak out when there is only white milk left and refuse to take the white, this will never happen!

  2. I think I have mentioned before that I live in Honduras, where the people are the poorest in Central America. These people love to emulate the United States. And in food too. I worked at a school in the capital last year, and the school had a snack bar, not a cafeteria. It offered 1/2 liter size soft drinks, sport drinks, take out pizza, and just one or two ethnic items that were good for you! I encouraged my class to make healthy choices, and asked them to use the bottled water avaialable in each classroom – the one good thing the school did well. And to my surprise, my students listened to me! As US citizens we have an obligation to our own students, and students all over the globe who emulate our lifestyle to offer healthier choices in schools. THis year, I am not teaching, but head of a program to reach a community in a poor neighborhood with better information on health, community issues and evangelism. Serving milk is a priority, albiet expensive.

  3. Not sure if you mentioned this in your blog, but did you see Top Chef this past week? They had to cook for school kids for less than $3? Drinks weren't involved, though, but sugar in the food was a big topic.

  4. We do whole milk at home. When I pack a lunch, it's usually whole milk with the chocolate or strawberry powder mixed in. My kids are all on the low end of the height and weight charts, so they need the whole milk.

    I also send in water, watered down juice, or the flavored water packs (instead of juice boxes).

    When they eat lunch at school, they tell me they get chocolate milk usually.

    Soda is maybe a once a week thing at home. The kids do enjoy pelligrino and I will make carbonated water with our soda maker and add fruit to it as well.

  5. There's a small but dangerous trend of students who drink energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. I have zero clue as to why a parent in their right mind would let kids have these during the day or otherwise, but they do…

  6. Honestly….if it's not milk (and whole milk) or water, kids don't need it, IMHO.

    I agree that healthy fats (i.e. naturally occuring and yes that means saturated fats in dairy and meat are healthy) not only don't make you fat but contain a lot of necessary nutrients. When you eliminate all processed foods from your diet, fats in "what's left" are NOT something to worry about.

    Frankly, if you cut back a lot of the sugars, you (and your kids) will lose their sweet tooth and whole foods like fruit will taste very sweet. However, "sweet" is a very addictive taste; the more you eat it (or drink it) the more you want it. Serving kids sweetened flavored milk is so counterintuitive it's downright sad.

    Plain water is also a must to keep hydrated. Most of the time, that's what they should be drinking.

    Fruit juice is pure sugar as well, even if it's natural sugar. You're better off eating a bowl of strawberries or an apple – it will be far less calories & sugar plus you'd get the added fiber. As always – the less processed something is and the closer to it's natural state, the better it is for you.

    Just about everything else has undesirable additives. Neither all the sugars nor the artificial sweeteners are any good for you; diet soda and diet Red Bull and all are just as bad for you as full sugar versions, just less caloric.

  7. My own children (4 and 5) have skim milk with breakfast and dinner. It's water the rest of the day. It's been this way since they were old enough for skim. Juice is a rare treat and soda even more so (like their birthday party). Their grandmother does buy them a slurpee on occasion and I cringe and bite my tongue.

    At school, I think only white milk should be available – preferably skim but that never seems an option. I don't understand why water is so hard to come by for school lunches. It's offered at my school, but the kids must pay extra so they rarely opt for the water. Why isn't water an option at no extra cost? It's the best thing anybody can drink.

  8. My kids aren't old enough for school yet but my son will be next fall. What mine drink now is a cup of water with about a tbsp of juice in it. They call this "juice". I hope to keep up with this (or just plain water) for as long as possible. I don't like to serve milk with meals because I feel like it "fills them up" and they don't eat as much of their meal. They both devour fruit and veggies like they are candy though, so I don't have that worry.

  9. Personally, I think that if schools are going to offer milks they need to be free of added sugars and organic. The flavored milks at my daughter's school all have corn syrup and a slew of other ingredients that kids don't need. Which, in my opinion, they need to get rid of flavored milk completely. Years ago, I had a conversation with a new mother about milk. Her 1 year old wouldn't drink milk and she said, "I think I'll just give him chocolate or strawberry milk so he'll drink it." I think that it's messed up to "cover-up" the flavor of milk to get kids to drink it. (I wouldn't douse strawberries in chocolate just to get my kids to eat them. So I can't understand why people feel the need to do this with milk.) Technically, kids don't really NEED milk. If kids don't like milk without flavoring… then they need to be drinking something else. Period.

    As far as fruit juices– they need to be organic and be produced in the USA. I hate looking at the juice ingredient label and seeing that it contains juice from 4 different countries.

    Water should always be available. In our family, water is always first choice.

    Sodas/pops should never be a choice in schools… in fact, if it has corn syrup/HFCS then they should be banned from schools. And if I'm not mistaken, many sports drinks have corn syrup in them.

  10. I think children should have milk (not chocolate or flavored, just plain) or water. Period. Full fat milk is probably better for young children (developing brains need lots of fat!), but older students should have a choice between full fat and 1-2%.

    In elementary school (thirty years ago!) we had a choice of chocolate or plain milk. I always hated the chocolate milk, it was too thick and left a coating in my mouth and throat. Disgusting! Of course all my schoolmates loved it. By high school, we were all buying sodas from vending machines. (The proceeds from the vending machine sales went to support various student groups–or so we were told.)

    I wonder how long it will be before we start to see Starbucks in high schools? There's already one in the LIBRARY of the local university.

  11. My high school has four vending machines with sodas (diet only), and the cafeteria serves lots of sports drinks. They have milk, but I wish they would serve skim milk; I'm not very concerned about the fats, I just prefer the way skim milk tastes. Whole milk grosses me out.

  12. I was always confused by school policy on drinks, even when I was a kid. I have never been a big milk drinker and when handed a carton for immediate consumption I tend to wave it around wildly, demanding to know who's idea it was to squeeze the dangly things under a cow and drink whatever came out. The closest thing to juice I remember was an "orange drink" that didn't contain any actual juice. I think it was delicious but that could have been because my parents didn't actually allow me to drink it. I checked out some local-ish schools a few months ago and was impressed with the added variety – even if a lot of that was more milk.. There was milk, diet milk, half-diet milk, strawberry and chocolate milk, water, and a few juices (not fruit drink). I'm pretty sure the high schools still have soda and sports drinks… banning them seems kind of useless. A teen ought to be able to make their own food decisions.

  13. I was also going to mention the energy drinks, like Monster. I work at a middle school and I see them and will hear students bragging that they had THREE of them the night before or whatever. Scary stuff.

  14. No, drinking/eating fat won't necessarily make you fat but it's still not the healthiest thing to have. It's more that you don't want the extra calories. Sugars, fats, and oils are the smallest to consume on the food pyramid. You can fill your calories for the day, but was it full of the right ones? It's more a health issue than a weight issue.

  15. Whole milk preferred? Interesting. Not all that long ago, school meal activists were rallying against whole milk. At that time, it was a requirement that whole milk be offered. Other kinds were offered as well, but whole milk had to be there. I know, times change, science and research lead to new conclusions.

    Current info – "The selection of the types of milk offered must be consistent with the types of milk consumed in the prior year. This requirement does not preclude schools from offering addtional kinds of milk."

    I’m starting to feel that the only way to please every child/parent/family is going to be to cook individual meals for each child. There’s so much good brainstorming here. How shall we start to apply it to actual suggestions to our law makers? More important, creating actual menus/meals for the students that will be correct?

  16. I've never agreed that humans *need* cow milk in their diet. Now, it's quite yummy in all it's various forms, I'll give you that. But I don't agree with the necessity. I think the "need" to have so many servings a day is because of the Dairy industry lobbying, not because of any actual reality.

    My kids drink water. They don't insist on soda or juice or chocolate milk (though of course they will happily drink all that if available). I know a few (and hear of many more) kids who "won't drink water". I really think it's because from a very young age, I just gave them water, with no regular choices. Real juice is bought once a week as a treat. Soda and fruit drinks are for parties. Milk just wasn't offered (other than when they were nursing of course – human milk is a different story).

    Now water in school though, yeah, that can be an issue. I remember the water fountain water as always tasting metallic. Having bottled water is healthier for the kids, but not environmentally great (though bottled *anything* isn't great for the environment so it might as well be water). But if I had to pick, I'd say bottled water for the kids. Unless it's a school that uses real plates and cups, then water from the faucet.

  17. I used to have ovaltine in my milk every so often growing up…do people still buy/use it?

  18. I agree, why flavor milk? What wonderful comments from everyone. You've left me with nothing to say! lol Mrs. Q, just want you to know you've inspired me to pack me twins lunch this fall when they start kindergarten. It's only milk(for meals) and water in our house, occasionally juice and very rarely soda. We have at least a dozen water bottles in the fridge at all times for easy access and they never ask other beverages between meals.

    Sidenote: Mrs. Q have you discussed concessions at sporting events? It's something I've gotten to thinking about lately. For many kids, student athletes and families concession food is dinner!

  19. In our boarding school dining hall, we had access to water, juice drinks (I don't think any of it was 100% juice), Powerade, milk, and apple cider from the farm (seasonally). They also always had a couple cartons of soy milk stashed away in a refrigerator, which I appreciated after I went vegan.

    I never, ever drank water until I was in my 20s. My mom hates water, so I did too. I still have no idea how I survived this long.

  20. The biggest trend I see in high schools is both students and faculty consuming energy drinks (Red Bull, Monster, etc.) and coffee. The amounts of sugar and caffeine in these drinks is staggering. They are not sold on campus, but are brought on – usually in the mornings.

  21. When I was in high school the only drink offered by the cafeteria was milk. Everything else, bottled water, sports drinks, juice, and soda were available from vending machines. I think it was my junior year (2000-01) that they started debating removing soda from the vending machines but it was still available when I graduated. There were water fountains and a lot of us carried re-fillable water bottles.

    What I didn't see mentioned here was coffee and blended/flavored coffees. I can't remember which group it was, but they lobbied the administration and somehow managed to get a coffee cart set up in the school. They sold everything from black coffee to the blended frappachino drinks packed full of sugar. I knew people that regularly had these drinks in place of meals. Those drinks can have up 600 empty calories per large cup. Oi.

  22. We had soda in our junior high and high schools, and our high school even did an expose on obesity my senior year, including critiquing our school's vending machines. The junior high has been phased out since then, but I imagine soda is probably still available as Pepsi helped pay for our new athletic training center. I guess the best thing I can say about this situation is that we were limited to using the coke machine in junior during lunch.

    In college, I mentored at a middle school and was shocked to see vending machines were readily available at ALL times.

  23. I think kids ought to drink whole milk unless there's a weight problem. In that case, I think a reduced fat or skim variety seems appropriate.

    We were never offered flavored milk when I was in school and I'm appalled that it now appears to be the norm. Milk came to us in half pint paper cartons from a local dairy and they cost a penny each (I kid you not). It was a big deal when the price went to 2 cents a carton. In elementary school, one of the lunch ladies brought around a cart loaded with milk cartons every afternoon and we could buy a milk for our afternoon snack. I think that happened after we came in from afternoon recess. We also, of course, had milk at lunch and even the kids who brought their lunch from home always had the necessary 1 or 2 pennies packed for them in the bottom of their lunch sacks. I always bought lunch and milk was included in the price of a lunch ticket as seems to be the norm today.

    I think soda was also offered when I got to high school but I don't think I ever bought it because I was always worried about my weight. Besides, I grew up drinking soda only rarely so it didn't necessarily appeal to me. I continued to buy milk for lunch and I recall that we could get skim or reduced fat. We still weren't offered flavored milk at that point.

  24. I see no need for anything but water for lunch. We only drink water for meals at home (milk in cereal) because I learned when my kids were young, milk filled their tummies but left them hungry much more quickly than if they ate real food. We stopped milk for meals when my oldest was still under the age of 2. She would have a glass afterwards if she wanted it, but not during meals.

    Schools should not be in the business of providing anything more than water for meals. It's simply not a necessity. Even if I could give in and say milk, it should be skim or 1% and plain only. Anything else listed just has no nutrional need/value, and juice in lieu of fruit is crazy. I read a long time ago that it takes 4 or so oranges to make a glass of juice, which is why it fills you temporarily. But like milk, it doens't keep you full.

    This is all why I'll be sending lunches next year. I don't trust the school to even provide adequate options for my kids.

  25. At my junior high school in rural Oklahoma (mid 1990's), literally everyone drank iced tea served by the cafeteria. Out of 200 junior high and high school students, I was the only one drinking milk, because I'd never had iced tea before and hated the flavor. I still think instant iced tea is nasty 😛

    Prior to that I'd been in elementary schools in the suburban Seattle area. Usually only white milk was available, and once in a while chocolate milk was an option.

  26. I say definitely get rid of the flavored milk.

    My pediatrician believed that milk after the nursing period to be detrimental. I got sick many times every winter, but after she took me off daily milk, I stopped getting sick so much.

    I have not personally read her book, but you might find it interesting. She had definite opinions about the diets that children should be eating, including the milk issue. Here's the link:

    Dr. Leila Daughtry-Denmark retired from practicing medicine ten years ago at the age of 102. She helped to develop the whooping cough vaccine.

    I believe she just might know what she's talking about re: good health. Dr. Denmark celebrated her 112th birthday this year!

  27. Another thought on this subject: I had never had a cavity before until I was 16. That was the year I changed to the public high school. I was a student council officer, and we met during 1st period. Our SC advisor allowed us to drink soda during our SC time. I started a bad habit of drinking regular Coke. The sugar/acid then stayed on my teeth the rest of the day. I had 4 cavities at my next dental appointment!

    If it's in the schools, kids will drink it so I have no problem w/ soda coming out of the schools.

  28. Water is the beverage of choice at our house. My daughter (11) doesn't like juice and never has; she did drink milk when she was younger, but these days she only has it on her cereal. If we go out to eat, she's allowed to have non-caffeinated soda (she has trouble sleeping, and even one small glass of Coke will keep her up until two in the morning), but I don't keep soda at home because it just leads to arguments and begging over how much she can have/when she can have more.

  29. I would love to see the school cafeterias get rid of the flavored milks and add some sort of container of water, whether that be allowing the kids to have a cup of water or giving them the option of bottled water (they just can't get enough to drink from a water fountain).

    Milk isn't necessary if the nutritionists plan the meals right. Calcium (and much better micronutrients) can be had from dry varieties of beans and whole grains.

  30. Milk does have naturally-occurring hormones. I mean… it's milk. Of course it does. The term "hormone-free" is a bit misleading, in the same way calling chickens both "free-range" and "vegetarian" is misleading. I've seen that on egg cartons before. (Chickens are omnivores, and will readily eat insects. Especially if they do actually roam around outside.)

    Anyway, just a pet peeve. Carry on!

  31. My daughter's preschool only serves water to students. Each table has a pitcher of filtered tap water that the students pour into cups themselves (the younger kids have the big pitcher decanted into smaller pitchers). The food prep sink has a special faucet for the filtered water. It's not rocket science to provide kids with clean water to drink.

  32. When I weaned her, my super-fussy daughter refused to drink cow's milk. Eventually I compromised by letting her have a single teaspoon of ovaltine stirred into it because I worried about her not getting enough calcium (I know there are other options for getting calcium into a child's diet, but unfortunately they were all things that she wouldn't eat either – and besides, have you ever tried getting a child to eat enough leafy greens to meet their daily requirement of calcium?)

    Eventually we discovered that she has sensory integration issues, which affect her perceptions of the taste and texture of food. Steering her towards an even marginally healthy diet has been a nightmare. But at least I can say, fairly definitively, that for even a child with genuine eating difficulties it is not necessary to resort to chocolate milk with the kind of sugar content found in the pre-packaged varieties.

  33. I always hated the milk my school had to offer. I'm not a big milk fan (unless it's in a cafe mocha) but theirs tasted extra gross in my opinion. I wish, instead of pre-made chocolate milk, they would give us white milk and some Nesquik. It would taste a lot better than the sickeningly sweet pre-made stuff and give an option to people who hate the taste of white milk. I think our milk was all 1 or 2%, and I'm a whole milk kinda girl for taste reasons. Though I do worry about whole milk affecting my cholesterol. Does anyone more nutrition savvy know?

    The other beverages I've seen are lemonade (which I guess could be lumped under fruit juice) and iced tea. I also remember Yoohoo in one of the vending machines.

    It would have been really nice to have easy access to water, or bottled water that didn't cost as much as a sports drink. Water is my preferred beverage but I rarely got enough during high school. It was dangerous to even have an opened water bottle on you because they would accuse you of having vodka (never mind that vodka smells a whole lot different than water). It was easier to just drink pop during class as most teachers would just ignore it.

  34. Water. There's really no need for anything else!

    But for small kids it would not be a bad idea to offer milk (full fat – I'd be more concerned about the sugar and crap they put in skim milk so that it resembles milk instead of just white water) and juices mid-morning or mid-afternoon, as well as fruit as a snack.

  35. I see those mini half sized cans of soda at the grocery store and wonder how many people are packing them in their elementary school age kids' lunches every day.

  36. I love milk, and I drank it with every lunch at school. I did get chocolate milk (never ever strawberry!), but I mostly got whole milk. When I was in high school 4-5 years ago I drank coffee and/or energy drinks almost every morning. I would never drink anything but plain whole milk if I had milk (usually at lunch and with dinner at home). Once I came to college and had access to all the Starbucks and Redbull/Monster I could afford I went a little wild, but I quickly noticed the difference in my health and waistline.

    Not everyone gets the "health wake-up call", but I did and I know alot of people my age have. It's hard to say how exactly I got my good habits and how I dropped the bad ones, but I think people are capable of making good choices even after being raised around the bad stuff.

  37. For elementary school children — whole milk and water — plain and simple. I grew up on whole milk and was never overweight. In fact, my mother had the milkman (our milk was delivered from a dairy) provide 2% milk and we wouldn't touch it! I don't advocate providing skim milk to children — especially elementary school children — those kids need the fat — good fat — that is found in whole milk for growing and such fats have been proven essential for brain development. I, for one, cannot drink skim milk — not a matter of preference, but a matter of physiology — I am mildly lactose intolerant and because of that, I don't have enough enzymes to break down the lactose in skim milk. The fats in whole milk, however, slow the digestive process and give my body the opportunity to process the lactose. Besides that, I think skim milk is absolutely GROSS — it looks like greyed water.

    I'm not a big fan of juices from concentrate — too high in sugar.

    I mentioned water above — plain water or flavored seltzer water — many can be found that are naturally flavored without added sugars.

    Sports drinks — not at all necessary for elementary school children. I believe the ONLY students that would be in need of a sports drink are those at the high school level who are participating in an intense sport . . . basketball, football, soccer, etc. And even that is a stretch for me.

    Energy drinks should not be available in the schools at any level . . . no exceptions.

  38. chispita said "I'd be more concerned about the sugar and crap they put in skim milk so that it resembles milk instead of just white water."

    I have no idea what the above comment means. The only thing added to skim milk is vitamin A and vitamin D, which is also added to whole and 2% milks. Flavored milks can be made from milk of any fat content, not just skim. The chocolate milk offered at my elementary school is 2%. Personally, I believe they flavor milk to get kids to drink milk period, not to get kids to drink fat free milk.

    One of my kids drank whole milk as a preschooler but now doesn't like mouth feel of the high fat content and so drinks skim (as do her father and I). My other kid has a dairy intolerance and drinks soy milk. I'm torn about that as he only likes vanilla flavored soy milk, which is loaded with sugar. He has a sensory disorder so it can be difficult to get him enough calcium through other sources thus it's something of a balancing act with him.

    I also don't like kids to drink juice but when they do, I'd prefer it to also be calcium fortified.

  39. Who cares if a university library has a coffee shop?! Everyone on campus is an adult and has the ability to make choices about whether to buy a coffee (with or without added sugar/fat/flavor/whatever).

    Please let's not confuse grown adults who have free-will with captive minor children, many of whom have few to no choices due to their socio-economic status.

    If a 19 yr old wants to buy a Starbucks on campus so they can get a study boost, I really could care less. You're a big boy or a big girl and you clearly are not stupid because you were accepted to college. Use your brain & make good choices.

    Elementary school children are a captive audience. Totally different situations.

  40. Hmm, my pediatrician told me that full fat milk is actually very bad for you, and tried to switch me off of it.

    Full fat milk has a lot of saturated fat.

  41. I am happy that you are in favor of whole milk. I am not saying that there is a relation (because there are other more important factors) but as whole milk consumption has declined in the last 30 years, rates of obesity have inclined. I do not think that drinking whole milk will make you thin. But there is significant evidence that millions of non-obese people drank whole milk as part of a healthy real food diet up until our switch to low fat milks 30 years ago.
    Milk with the fat removed usually has to have the vitamins A and D added back in in supplement form because they are fat soluable. I am far more in favor of vitamins in food form rather than supplement form, because real food has the right balances of chemicals to aid in absorbption. Supplements are so straight forward, they do not always get absorbed properly. And if you are just going to pass it out then a) what's the point? and b) you aren't getting the vitamin.

  42. For elementary schools, I don't think it's appropriate to have much more than water and milk (but then, I'm a little bit of a juice nazi, so to speak, due to all of the unnecessary calories and sugar, and the idea that whole fruit is always better). It's important to teach younger students about healthy drink choices. However, when you get to be in high school, I don't think it's the school's job to refuse them soda. The idea is that they're older and should have the nutritional education as a backbone to make choices in moderation. And, if they choose not to…we live in America.

    As much as I would love to get everyone in this country – hey, everyone in the world! – to eat nutritiously all or almost all of the time, people are free to make their own choices. Unfortunately, that includes the right to make destructive choices. In the end, all we can do is educate and offer the good along with the "bad."

    Now, lowering the price of water and milk and jacking up the price for sodas to decrease willingness to purchase the "bad"…well that's a whole other story…

  43. In my high school, "pop" was banned.. except for diet pop. Which we all know is MORE bad for us than the regular pop anyway.

  44. When I was in elementary school we had whole milk and skim. Water wasn't an option unless you brought your own bottle from home. Luckily the county I grew up in was nationally recognized for clean water, so I never had to worry about its quality.

    To me, it's important for kids to get enough calcium whether it be from milk or other foods, fortified or not. At some point we all must make on our own choices on how that will occur. If anything drinking milk has been shown to help maintain a healthy weight (and at the very least is a much better option than most juices and sodas.)

    I drink milk all the time now. I crave it sometimes (only skim but sometimes chocolate milk 2%.)

    I heard that whole milk is only 4% fat but I'm unsure if this is true.

  45. We drink water and milk (1%) at home. I do send the low sugar juice boxes for school lunch. And (gasp!) we drink Kool Aide at the pool in the summer. 5 days out of 7 we are at the neighborhood pool for 5-6 hours and, in my opinion, they burn off any calories they drink (and probably need them). I do use half the sugar called for in the recipe. We have fruit, sliced cucumbers and carrots, and goldfish as pool snacks.

    I think we must be careful how far the pendulum swings. We do control, for now, what we allow our children to eat and drink, but what happens when they are on thier own? To teach someone to make better choices, they must be offered choices. The key is to maintaining an overall balance between what they eat and drink over a period of time, not to restrict them so much that they are never able to make the "better" choice on their own.

  46. Why is it the school's responsibility to offer so many choices when it comes to eating and drinking?
    And if parents and kids insist upon choices…why do unhealthy choices have to be included?
    I teach middle school and I am shocked at how many of my students have had kidney stones and gallbladder trouble. These are middle school kids!!! If kids want to eat and drink junk at school, then they should have to bring it from home. From what I can see, the kids who eat best are the kids who bring their lunches. Their parents pack their lunches because they know the school food isn't meeting their standard of good, healthy food. Sure, some kids bring junk, but most of them eat what the school is offering or selling to them.
    Junk food sold at schools is all about the money. School districts use it to supplement their income and the money is used for a variety of things. I can't believe with all we know about nutrition and kids, this is still allowed and condoned by school boards throughout the country!

  47. Here's a reply to the genius who wrote of my comment: "If a 19 yr old wants to buy a Starbucks on campus so they can get a study boost, I really could care less. You're a big boy or a big girl and you clearly are not stupid because you were accepted to college."

    There are no boys and girls in this discussion, and calling something you don't agree with stupid is really uncalled for. Beyond that, here's something for the others who aren't resorting to such immature tactics to think about:

    This trend toward allowing corporations to invade campuses (university as well as high, middle, and elementary schools) is not new and is quite relevant to the discussion about school lunches. If one has been paying attention for the last 30 or so years, one might realize that corporations and corporate advertising shapes the dietary expectations of children and less savvy adults. It's a short step from letting Pizza Hut and Subway hawk their wares in middle and high schools to universities allowing a Starbucks next to the circulation desk in the library. (Where does all the profit from that go, I wonder? Whose pockets are getting lined from the proceeds of feeding a caffeine addiction?)

  48. Whole milk must contain AT LEAST 4% milk fat in order to be labeled "whole milk" per USDA regulations. It can, and sometimes does, contain significantly more than 4%. Fat content of whole milk varies from breed to breed and, to a lesser degree, from cow to cow, and it can even vary seasonally. Milk that is higher in fat than 4% often is used for making cheese and premium ice cream.

    I'm providing some info below about some of the production of milk in my state (CT). My intention in providing this is purely for educational purposes. I've learned a lot myself from these Web sites and from visiting the places themselves. Also, these types of producers certainly aren't limited to CT. You may find places like these right outside your own back door!

    The Univ. of CT ("UConn") School of Agriculture runs a retail store that sells mainly ice cream made from milk produced in the dairy on campus. This is a YouTube video that shows the milking process at one of the barns (kids love this video):

    Groups and individuals can tour the UConn dairy barns as well as the plant that produces ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream and the like (ice cream is in regular production, other products are made only occasionally). This is their Web site:

    You can also tour other animal barns at UConn (horses, sheep, goats, chickens, hogs and so on). More info here (nice photos even if you can't get there in person):

    This is a local cheesemaker that maintains its own herd of Jersies whose milk is used exclusively in its cheesemaking:

    This is an ice cream maker that uses milk exclusively from its own herd, although their site doesn't describe their feeding methods. Sometimes you can see their herd grazing in the fields next to the ice cream stand, though, and I like the idea that the ice cream I'm eating is made from really fresh milk produced on site:

    I've also learned a lot about production of milk and other ag products by attending ag fairs. Large states typically have county fairs and state fairs. In New England, we have town fairs instead of county fairs and the "Big E," which is like a state fair but all 6 New England states participate. 4H fairs are also great learning opportunities if you have them in your area. Anyway, ag fairs offer a wealth of info about how food products are raised. I can highly recommend seeking them out. Take your kids, attend demos and talks, walk thru the animal barns, look for displays (such as the contest winners of the biggest watermelon or the best strawberry jam), pick up free literature, and ask lots and lots of questions. You can even talk to the farmers who grow the food you eat! It's really fun and you'll learn so much.

  49. I just began following your blog and I wanted to make a comment.

    I was born in 1985, and growing up it was difficult to get water in school unless it came from a vending machine. I am one of those rare people that LOVE LOVE LOVE water. ( when I got to be an adult I added coffee/tea to the list of beverages I consume) It has been and always will be my beverage of choice, however I did suffer from childhood obesity.

    I think this beverage discussion is important, but as someone who drank water exclusively yet was still obese, obviously my calories were not coming from beverages. Food choices need to be reinforced in the home. Yes schools should over healthy options for kids, but if the child isn't learning to make healthy choices at home, the one healthy meal (or unhealthy meal) at school is not going to change their eating patterns. IMO.

    To Rosa- I think what the other poster was trying to say, that if adults choose to succumb to the tactics of corporations (i.e. Starbucks in the college library, or in an office building etc) that is not our concern due to the fact that adults have the right to make food choices for themselves without the interference from other adults. If said adults aren't so savvy or well informed then that is to the benefit of the corporation, but not exploitative in the way that marketing to captive children would be.

    I admit, I love my Starbucks- but I am not ignorant and I understand the marketing behind gaining/keeping my brand loyalty. However, as an adult it is my choice where to spend my dollars and what food to put in my mouth. Given we live in a capitalist economy, I feel corporations have the right to market their product to adults- forcing their product captive children is another matter.

    I truly enjoy this blog!

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