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Flavored Milks and Other Unhealthy Foods Eliminated from Los Angeles School Lunches

Parents of children in the Los Angeles School District have something new to talk to their children about when discussing healthy lifestyle choices: the absence of flavored milk in school lunches. On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted 5-2 to remove flavored milk options from its school menus.

Many school districts – including Washington D.C. -  have passed similar acts in their efforts to make the meals they serve their students healthier while also combating childhood obesity. Los Angeles is the largest school district to ban sugar-laden, artificially flavored milks from their lunches. This district serves 650,000 meals a day at 1,000 different locations. In addition to removing milk from their menus, Los Angeles schools will be removing other unhealthy options such as corn dogs, chicken nuggets, and other fast food items. In their place, the district is adding more vegetarian options, such as spinach tortellini with butternut squash and California sushi rolls.

“Absolutely, by the fall the district will be a national leader,” said a senior advocate for the California Food Policy Advocates, Matthew Sharp.

Jamie Oliver is also supporting LA’s decision to improve the quality of the meals that it will offer its students.

“This is a giant step forward for the health and future of 680,000 kids in Los Angeles, and leads the way for more school districts around the country to follow,” said Oliver.

Many students choose to drink flavored milk with their lunches. Currently, almost 60 percent of the milk consumed by students is flavored milk. These flavored milks have between 120-130 calories and 20-26 grams of sugar per cup. This makes these milks comparable to a cup of Coca-Cola, which has 100 calories and 26 grams of sugar. However, plain, nonfat milk is a healthier option, with only 90 calories and 12 grams of sugar.

It is a very good thing that school districts are improving the quality of the foods that they are serving to your children. If you are packing your child’s lunch, then check out this fantastic list of healthier alternatives to the usual lunchbox fare to improve your child’s nutrition even further.

Via The LA Times

June 16th, 2011

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