The Children's Aid Society Announces New Healthy Beverage Policy
According to the New York City Department of Health’s Take Care New York 2012 action plan, Americans consume about 250 more calories per day than they did 30 years ago: about half of these calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. The Children’s Aid Society is working towards breaking that trend with its new beverage policy set to take effect on March 1st, 2011. All Children’s Aid staff and clients are joining the fight against unhealthy eating by cutting their consumption of flavored milk, sodas and sports drinks. This is just another step in the agency’s overall mission to educate the communities we serve about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
The new beverage guidelines that will apply to all sites are as follows:
- Tap water will be made readily available to all
- Children under the age of 2 years old will be given whole milk and for those 3-5 years old, 1% milk (or milk substitute for lactose intolerant children), If 100% juice is served, dilute it by half with water
- Children over the age of 5 years old are only allowed water, seltzer, 1% milk (or milk substitute for lactose intolerant children), and 100% juice.
- Allowable alternatives are homemade fruit smoothies and homemade “soda” (seltzer water + 100% fruit juice)
- Adults are allowed water or seltzer, milk, 100% juice, coffee or tea
Children learn by example and Children’s Aid staff strives to promote healthy lifestyle choices in all areas of programming. Our Go!Healthy Initiative directly aims to alter the habits of young people through a variety of fun and informative activities. Stefania Patinella, Director of Food & Nutrition Programs at Children's Aid, describes the initiative as follows:
“Our programs give families the tools to make informed decisions about what they eat and drink so they can be “conscious consumers.” In one activity, youth are astonished when they measure how much sugar is in their foods and beverages, like sodas, juice drinks and cereals. In another, they learn about the marketing tricks companies use to convince consumers that products are healthy when they’re not—such as pictures of fruit or words such as “natural.” Parents and youth alike learn what too much sugar means for their health, mood, and concentration, as well as its relationship to Type 2 diabetes, a disease that is devastating many low-income families and communities. Of course, to keep every class positive and fun, we include hands-on cooking activities that empower children and parents to make healthy, homemade meals part of their daily lives. With every meal, we serve water…and for special occasions, homemade “soda”: equal parts seltzer and 100% fruit juice, with fresh fruit as a garnish!”