One day, perhaps, I’ll spring out of bed five minutes before my alarm clock, fully-rested from eight actual hours of sleep; my hair will fall perfectly into place; everything I put on will be loose-fitting; my bed will make itself; the laundry basket will be empty; and my teenage daughter will be waiting downstairs to serve me a healthy breakfast she prepared: steel-cut oatmeal, green tea with lemon, fresh berries grown from our organic garden and a scrambled egg, compliments of our free-range backyard chicken, “Gloria”. My patient and talented 14-year-old daughter smiles as she folds my napkin on my tray, complete with the morning paper she fetched and roses she cut from our backyard.

Never mind, I don’t have a backyard garden, a chicken named Gloria or a 14-year-old daughter who’s a “morning person”; the real reason this “perfect day” will never come is I’m a working Mom doing the best I can in the Real World.

So, you can probably imagine what Real World Moms like me think about “Food Revolution” TV chef Jamie Oliver’s current push to get chocolate milk banned from schools next year. Jamie is a charming chef, but no wonder he’s struggling in the ratings; you need to “relate” to your audience, not badger and guilt.

“Yes,” our children need to cut down on the sugar, but there are so many, many more suitable targets: the fake, fried chicken nuggety-things, the caffeinated 70-ounce Big Gulp sodas, stale French fries and “shiny-meat” processed sandwiches made with gummy white bread. (And, let me just say that in an age when teenagers are bringing guns to school and beating up kids in the hallways just to post a video on YouTube, there are far more imminent threats facing our kids than chocolate milk.)

So, how about, I dunno, working healthy foods and exercise into their lives by being at least a role model who tries? Be the Mom who makes exercise a priority; be the Mom who always keeps fresh fruit in the house (organic, frozen or whatever), the Mom who encourages broccoli, even if it means bribing its consumption by way of melted cheese. And “yes” be the Mom who encourages her children to choose a glass of chocolate milk over a 20-ounce soda.

Frankly, I’d rather have my teen choose chocolate milk than an energy drink, and so would you if you read this:

Earlier this year, Joel Stager, director of the Human Performance laboratory at Indiana University, published a study that claimed chocolate milk is one of the best natural energy drinks out there, especially for high-endurance athletes.

“Compared to plain milk, water, or most sports drinks, it has double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles. Its high water content replaces fluids lost as sweat, preventing dehydration. Plus it packs a nutritional bonus of calcium, and includes just a little sodium and sugar - additives that help recovering athletes retain water and regain energy. Drinking plain water after exercise replaces sweat losses - and that's it. Chocolate milk provides carbohydrate replenishment to your muscles -- something they can metabolize.” You can read more on this study from Fitness Magazine:

So let’s raise our glass to common sense and realize that we’ve got better things to do this summer than make plans to ban chocolate milk in our schools next year. Real World Working Moms today don’t need more finger-wagging admonitions from Hollywood-types trying to be sensational to hawk a TV show. How about we start by chasing our kids off the couch this summer? You know, chocolate milk comes in on-the-go containers, so you can lace up your sneakers and sport that chocolate milk moustache with pride!

Written by Laurie Johns
Laurie Johns is Public Relations Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

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