I gave a nutritional talk yesterday to a group of fourth graders and their parents. The kids are members of CitySquash, an enrichment program focusing on squash (the sport), academics and community service.
About five years ago, I suggested to Tim Wyant, the program’s executive director, that the kids not be allowed to drink soda, Snapple, Gatorade and fruit juice when they are under CitySquash’s eye. Water is THE drink, period.
Early on the kids bristled, but now the policy is firmly entrenched. It may not be fully understood, but it is serving its purpose. A handful of the kids have stopped drinking the sugared drinks altogether, while parents appreciate the organizational support.
One mom, who understands the dangers of Gatorade (sugar, artificial colorants, misleading advertising), was so happy when her daughter came home and explained the beverage policy.
The kids were a little startled yesterday when one of them read the ingredients of peach Snapple but couldn’t find “peach” anywhere. The 10 teaspoons of sugar I measured out (roughly the amount in a 16-fluid ounce bottle) also got their attention.
I also had one of the kids do the math on his Snapple habit. Figuring one Snapple per day at $1.50, he is costing his parents over $500 per year. This is a conservative number, since some of the kids drink more than one per day and most have siblings. This caused some parents to gasp, especially when I reminded the group that the much better option—water—is free.