Kicking Off the Sugar Debate in Minnesota

Kicking Off The Sugar Debate In Minnesota

Thu 02 Jun 2011

Story by Angela Fiedler
 

When I first brought up the topic of removing chocolate milk from our schools at a school board meeting, I truly didn’t believe I would get such a response.

I didn’t know anyone really cared about chocolate milk that much. Our district had already taken soda out of vending machines, so I thought this would be a no-brainer. Boy was I wrong! I was interviewed by the local paper, after which students submitted letters to the editor pleading not to remove chocolate milk.

It was great to see people having opinions on the subject, even if they differed from my own - at least the conversation had been started. Now comes the hard part: educating people to see the lies behind the sugar.

Our society has become so asphyxiated with sugared up EVERYTHING it is hard to equate the simple treat it was when I was a child to what it has become in mainstream society today. Our kids have become conditioned to expect sugar, and even demand it. As parents and schools we need not be enablers any longer, but make it our mission to help be part of a solution. The goal? Healthier children.

My ‘big picture’ intention when posing this topic was to raise awareness of our school’s nutrition program in general, or lack thereof. As I saw with so many great responses, they all had been talking about it. This was great!

I used this as a starting point to continue the nutrition conversation. Nutrition is so important for not only our children’s development today, but also down the road to making healthy decisions as adults.

Serving our children healthy and nutritious meals needs improvement, especially for the sake of those students that do not go home to a meal that supplements the shortfalls of a school lunch. Our school district already knows there is room for improvement, and thanks to my conversation starter our district now has a Nutrition Committee, a sub-committee of the schools’ Wellness Committee.

I am joined on the committee by our wonderful school nurse, several other concerned parents with willing voices, and a dietician (our lunch lady will also join us). We are working on goals for our district to help implement healthier options – things like more fruits and veggies, more whole grains, less fats, less sodium and yes, less sugar.

Our team has put together a survey to engage parents in our efforts for better nutrition. We will use the data collected to see how best to prioritize our collective goals and to continue to move forward towards the things that dreams are made of…fresh produce as far as the eye can see, waterfalls of white milk, and sugar treated like the enemy it is.

About the author: Angela Fiedler is a proud mom of four, and a Mom Congress 2011 Minnesota Delegate.

Images
Left:cheese pizza, lettuce "salad," jello, pineapple, chocolate milk
Middle:chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, raisins, milk
Right:"super nachos," bread, pears, cookies, chocolate milk

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