Here in Chicago, parents are in an uproar over reports that despite all the healthy options available as part of the free breakfasts offered by public schools, most kids go for the doughnuts.
The good news? This is the first year that public schools in Chicago are offering free breakfast to almost every student.
The bad news? Students are allowed to choose three items for breakfast, and most of them are opting for a (fortified!) doughnut paired with other sugary, processed items including Kellogg's Pop-Tarts, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, and French toast with syrup. Needless to say, they are bypassing items like apples and oatmeal in favor of the high-sugar items.
True, a high-sugar breakfast is better than no breakfast at all (which would be the case for many of these students). And, the items offered as part of the breakfast in the classroom program supposedly do meet the requirements established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
However, nutrition experts are worried that sugary, processed options not only cause children to sleepy and inattentive in school, but also contribute to our nation's growing weight-related health problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In effect, they warn that our kids are "learning" in school that it's okay to eat doughnuts every morning for breakfast. What does this mean for their future eating habits?
The solution? Some parents are advocating to only serve healthy options as part of the breakfast in the classroom programs.
What do you think? Does your school have free breakfast? Are kids allowed to eat doughnuts every day?