Sugary school breakfasts have long been a pet peeve of mine (read: The Trouble With School Breakfast). It never made sense to me: If there are limits to things like sodium, saturated fat, and calories in school food, why are there no standards set for added sugar? Why is my child able to walk through the line and pick up a breakfast consisting of (true story) chocolate milk, sweetened cereal, sweetened yogurt, apple juice, and graham crackers?
So I was thrilled to see someone find out. Bettina Siegel of the blog The Lunch Tray investigated the topic for a recent piece on Civil Eats called Why There Is So Much Sugar In Your Kid’s School Breakfast. What she found is enough to make any parent angry. Thanks to loopholes, tight budgets, and a regulation that had good intentions but is backfiring instead, it’s common for sugar levels of school meals to be more than double what’s recommended for the general public. In fact, according to the piece, “it’s entirely possible for sugar to account for a substantial portion of the total allowed calories”.
I recently added up the sugar content of the school breakfast my second grader was having one morning (he eats school breakfast once a week while I help out for our Fruit Ninja program). His breakfast topped 30 grams of sugar. That’s more than seven teaspoons of added sugar–the maximum he should be getting FOR THE WHOLE DAY (read What A Day’s Worth Of Sugar For Kids Really Looks Like).
In the latest episode of The Happy Bite podcast, Dina Rose and I interviewed Bettina about the topic (she’s also our very first podcast guest!). We chatted about some of her most surprising findings, and we also asked her what parents could do if they were upset about sugary school breakfasts. Tune in to the episode here or subscribe on iTunes.
- Read Bettina’s piece: Why There Is So Much Sugar In Your Kid’s School Breakfast
- Listen to The Happy Bite podcast episode: Sugary School Breakfasts
- Learn more about the Fruit Ninja program: Fruit Ninjas: A Simple School Wellness Program