Can you say c-e-r-e-a-l real fast three times?
That's what one little boy had on his tray at my daughter's elementary school. "See how skinny I am?" the boy explained, lifting up his skinny arms to show me. "I want to get big."
I wondered how he got past the ladies at the food line with three containers of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But there it was, plain as day, along with the strawberry milk, the apple juice and a package of graham crackers already devoured.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch, made by General Mills, is one of those "healthy" cereals. "Whole Wheat" and "Rice" are printed in boldface on the label. It also has nine grams of sugar--a bit more than two teaspoons--in a 1-ounce serving. That would be in addition to the 28 grams of sugar in the 8-ounce container of strawberry milk (almost as much as Mountain Dew), the 20 grams of sugar in the 6-ounce container of apple juice, and the six grams of sugar in the graham crackers.
Let's see. We're up to 63 grams of sugar so far, about 15 teaspoons. A pretty sugary start to the morning, wouldn't you say? But that's if this little boy only eats one of those cereals. Oops. He's opening the second.
School meals are subject to a tangle of regulations that rivals the U.S. tax code. Even so, there's no limit to the amount of sugar a child can consume at school.
What happens, I ask him, if he can't finish all three cereals?
"I take it home in my back pack and save it for later."
Kids are just too smart these days.