By Zahara Heckscher
I'll admit it: I'm usually too disorganized in the morning to get my son to school early. In fact, we probably average about three minutes late.
But last week Max (who attends Hearst Elementary, a DC public school) woke up early. So we decided to go to school early and get breakfast there thanks to the free breakfast program.
Imagine my surprise to find the contents of the breakfast:
* Pop Tarts
* Graham crackers
* Grape juice
Strawberry Frosted Pop Tarts?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not an extremest who won't let my son have any sugar. He gets occasional treats and has inherited my predilection for chocolate consumption. But that's for special times, parties, and infrequent desserts following dinner. OK, and bribery every now and then.
But to start his day off with Pop Tarts? No. No. No.
It was amusing to see that they have added whole wheat to the Pop Tarts. But does that negate the 17 grams of sugar? High fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient? Plus corn syrup, plus corn syrup solids, plus sugar, plus dextrose? Two forms of food coloring? More salt than real strawberries? No. No. No.
Then add to that 17 grams of sugar, extra sugar from the gram crackers (4 or 8 grams, as far as I can ascertain), and 20 grams from the grape juice. I won't even count the lactose in the milk. Over 40 grams of sugar before 9 am. Is this how I want my kid starting the day? Or his little friends in his class? Or any child -- especially those who actually depend on these free breakfasts? No. No. No.
Don't tell me kids won't eat healthy food. They might not eat their broccoli, but most kids will eat fruit, cheese, eggs, peanut butter and plenty of other healthy breakfast foods.
My tax dollars going to Kellogg to give kids Pop Tarts for breakfast? No. No. No.
Pop Tart Ingredients, according to Kelloggs web site:
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL (WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS), POLYDEXTROSE, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, CORN SYRUP, WHOLE GRAIN BARLEY FLOUR, GLYCERIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF INULIN FROM CHICORY ROOT, WHEAT STARCH, SALT, DRIED STRAWBERRIES, DRIED PEARS, DRIED APPLES, CORNSTARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, GELATIN, CARAMEL COLOR, SOY LECITHIN, XANTHAN GUM, MODIFIED WHEAT STARCH, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, NIACINAMIDE, RED #40, REDUCED IRON, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), YELLOW #6, RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), FOLIC ACID.
10 months ago