No more sugary milk, cereal for D.C. Public Schools
UPDATED 7:30 P.M.
Allow me to amplify a Friday scoop from Post-reporter-turned-food-maven Ed Bruske: The D.C. Public Schools will no longer offer its students sweetened, flavored milk. Where kinds once had the option of chocolate or strawberry, now they'll choose 1 percent or skim.
The milk changes start a week from today, when summer school opens.
And this fall, further changes may be in order. DCPS spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway says the system's "goal for this upcoming school year is to serve cereals with six grams of sugar or less."
"We will be taste testing low-sugar cereals, as well as other nutritious breakfast and lunch items, this summer to determine which breakfast options are both healthy and appetizing to serve to our students," she writes in an e-mail.
The changes are part of a first wave of reforms heralding a new awareness of the poor quality of school lunches here. Ed, for one, has done yeoman's work via his "Tales From a D.C. School Kitchen" series at The Slow Cook in showing just how lousy the food we give kids is. DCPS took a big step toward healthier lunches by hiring Jeff Mills, a
ex-restaurant chef ex-restaurateur who has pledged to increase the quality of school meals.
The heavy lifting is yet to come: It's one thing to take away patently unhealthy choices from schoolkids; it's another to add new, healthy choices. That's the goal of the Healthy Schools Act passed by the council earlier this year and funded in the fiscal 2011 budget. Among its many provisions is to raise school nutrition standards above federal baselines and to spend more money per meal to improve quality.
Besides the sugar-busting, other changes could be coming to some schools this fall.
An award should come by mid-July, Calloway says.
Photo courtesy of Ed Bruske
UPDATE, 7:30 P.M.: Correction: Mills is not a chef, but a former restaurant owner and consultant.
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