28 October 2009

Thoughts on School Lunches, Pt. II

I was encouraged and optimistic when I heard a couple of years ago that action was being taken to remove soda machines from schools throughout the United States. That takes a lot of courage (and good old common sense) considering the contracts that school districts signed with beverage companies had to be very profitable. It came at the heels of the rather leery comment "The school system is where you build brand loyalty" - John Alm, president, Coca-Cola Enterprises, quoted in AJC, April 6, 2003.

However, I am disheartened by the fact that many schools replaced these machines for other beverages that are just as high in sugar: Snapple, Gatorade, fruit juices just to name a few. Don't get me wrong, I drink Gatorade frequently, especially before, during and after exercise. I do not allow my children to drink it though. I remember there being one option to quench my thirst in grade school and high school: water. You remember, they were little white
porcelain or stainless steel units connected to the wall? They now come in a variety of different shapes, materials and sizes. I especially like the granite enclosed ones that are inside community parks and playgrounds. You know, when I was a child I would ask my mom if I could have orange juice or milk an hour or two after dinner. Her response to me (and the rest of her children) was always "drink water." I would respond with "...but I am not thirsty for water." To which my mom would respond in her matter-of-fact tone "Well, then you're not really thirsty then." Wow, my mom, who knows very little about nutrition, knew enough not to let us consume ridiculous amount of sugar before bedtime. Thanks mom!

Is this one of those crazy ideas again about giving middle school and high school student choices to make them feel all warm and fuzzy? I think my mom ought to sit down with school boards across the country when they are contemplating putting beverage machines in schools so that she can remind them that students can drink water when they're thirsty.

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