A new California law mandates restaurants serving kids’ meals must offer either milk or water as their advertised drink options. That being said, California kids can still get a soda with their meals . . . if they or their parents make the request.
Additionally, nondairy alternatives or sparkling or still flavored waters can be offered as default options or advertised on the menu. If they are, those beverages must be less than 130 calories and have no added sweeteners.
The lawmakers behind the new legislation said that parents are more likely to choose sugary drinks if they are the listed beverage at restaurants. The idea of the legislation is that limiting the visibility of these drink choices will help lower sugar intake and chronic health issues such as type-2 diabetes and obesity.
The new law follows similar ordinances that have been passed in the last several years in many California cities and counties. It will go into effect statewide in 2019.
The penalty for restaurants breaking the new law will be relatively minor with the possibility of a $250 fine if sugary drinks are continued as the default drink of kids’ meals at restaurants.