The fight for kids' food

boy appleThe fight for what our kids eat continues to rage on. The battle has moved from the home to  school lunch rooms, fast food restaurants and grocery store shelves. Fresh versus frozen. Organic and local versus imported produce. Natural versus artificially sweetened beverages.

There’s no denying that we all care about what our kids consume. Yesterday, Children’s director of the Optimal Weight for Life Program, David Ludwig, MD, PhD, wrote a piece expressing concern about the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks. (The Washinton Post recently featured Dr. Ludwig on this topic. Also read more of Dr. Ludwig’s articles on children’s health here.)

This week there have been several news stories concerning the foods and beverages our children consume.

  • Activists have persuaded many schools across the country to stop serving chocolate milk because of its sugar content. To fight the chocolate milk ban, the dairy industry has launched the “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk” campaign that has on online petition and its own Facebook page and Twitter following.
  • General Mills has made a public commitment to reduce the amount sugar in its cereal advertised to children. This will affect 10 products.
  • A USA Today investigation has found that school lunches are worse than fast food. According to the investigation, “In the past three years, the government has provided the nation’s schools with millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn’t meet the quality or safety standards of many fast-food restaurants, from Jack in the Box and other burger places to chicken chains such as KFC.” Watch this CNN interview with USA Today reporters.

As a parent, how do you balance your child’s diet? Any simple tips for getting your kids to eat well while not turning “junk food” into the forbidden fruit?