School lunches have been notoriously unhealthy and disgusting since the beginning of time. But San Francisco schools are trying to change the unhealthy part by cutting out a lot of sugar in the lunches. Baked sweets like cookies and brownies are forbidden, as are soft drinks and candy. Chocolate milk is the next item to go. Effective in August, public elementary and middle schools will not be served flavored milk, which often has as high as 40% of a child’s daily sugar need. High schools will have them banned in the spring.
San Francisco is not the first city to try this. Los Angeles schools tried it in 2011 in an effort to make lunch healthier. However, after they saw a lot of kids throwing out or wasting unopened cartons of plain milk, they got flavored milk again. When the school restocked flavored milk, milk waste fell 23 percent.
The high levels of milk waste is not something to take lightly. Not only does it waste money and resources, but high levels of food waste contributes to problems like global warming by releasing methane. However, giving children the option to opt out of milk would probably solve this issue.
People debate whether or not banning school lunch is actually healthier for children and conflicting studies exist. San Francisco officials claimed they did a study to test their ban before putting it in place and found that milk consumption dipped only slightly. However, a study done by Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab implies that banning flavored milk actually decreases children’s milk consumption significantly.