Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CitySquash and Its Sugared Drinks Policy

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.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Rob, stunning. A Snapple a day? Yikes.

Good for you; thanks for doing this stuff w/ those kids.

Quick question: wife and I are fairly new to something that's probably old news to you, but thought I'd mention it given the general views you have. Also checking your thoughts on it. What do you think of Stevia (in the raw)? As we understand it, it's not synthetic, and there are no additives. Some people don't like the slight bitterness to it, but it's sweet enough to count as a sweetener, is calorie-free and not crazy chemical stuff. Your thoughts?

-Jon in Miami (soon to be Jon in South Carolina...)

(p.s.: that duck you cooked awhile back looked delicious)

Chef Rob said...


I'm actually in the middle of a two-day nutritional conference that is focusing on the science behind the relationship between food (specifically different amino acids) and our bodies. I'll find out the scientific view on stevia later today.