@Trevor Butterworth@twitter Thanks so much for your response. I'm interested to read your article in Forbes. Will definitely check it out.
@NBMaggie Love this comment. I agree - School Food has subsidies for meat and dairy products mostly, and more subsidized produce would really encourage healthier meal planning. Luckily, School Food has created several nutritious plant-based recipes (bean stews, tofu dishes, etc) with the dawn of the new USDA regulations.
"When New York City's public schools trumpeted their removal of whole milk from lunch menus as a method of tackling childhood obesity, they neglected to mention that kids switched to drinking fat-free chocolate milk, which had just as many calories."
I know that this is by no means the focus of your article, but I would like to comment on the statement above. I'm not sure what the calorie content of the whole milk/fat-free chocolate milk was back in 2006 (when this change went into effect), but according to Elmhurst Dairy (School Food's milk distributor) their whole milk contains 150 calories, while their fat-free skim milk contains 130 calories.
At the same time School Food banned whole milk, it also banned low-fat flavored milks, choosing to offer fat-free chocolate as the only flavored option. This ban didn't simply replace whole milk with fat-free chocolate milk - School Food went from offering whole milk, 1 percent, fat-free, and low-fat flavored milks to offering 1 percent, fat-free, and fat-free chocolate. This naturally meant a decrease in total calories available to students.
Having said that, School Food consistently struggles to meet calorie targets while keeping in compliance with the USDA standards... so they are definitely not at fault for over-serving calories whether whole milk is availaible or not. In any case, I'm inclined to think we should worry more about the ingredients in processed foods, availability of fresh produce, and exercise promotion while focusing less on the number of calories in a pint of milk.