Should chocolate milk be banned in schools?

Cupcakes have been under siege for a number of years, and now it’s chocolate milk’s turn on the chopping block.

How evil is chocolate milk?

According to The Huffinton Post, the complaint is that often there are more than 3 teaspoons of sugar added to the milk to make it more palatable to kids. (Three teaspoons was the magic number that made kids drink it.) Here is an AP story also on the controversy.

According to chef Ann Cooper, Renegade Lunch Lady of Boulder, CO., kids could put on as much as 5 pounds a year from that additional sugar.

The National Dairy Council has launched a defense campaign – Raise your Hand for Chocolate Milk. Their argument is:

  • “Milk provides nutrients essential for good health and kids will drink more when it’s flavored.
  • Flavored milk contains the same nine essential nutrients as white milk and is a healthful alternative to soft drinks.
  • Drinking low-fat or fat-free white or flavored milk helps kids get the 3 daily servings* of milk recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and provides three of the five “nutrients of concern” that children do not get enough of – calcium, potassium and magnesium as well as vitamin D.
  • Children who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs; do not consume more added sugar, fat or calories; and are not heavier than non-milk drinkers.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk is the most popular milk choice in schools and kids drink less milk (and get fewer nutrients) if it’s taken away.”

(I’m not sure how point 4 is true based on what the Renegade Lunch Lady says.)

Rose has been our only child that will chug tons of plain milk. Walsh hates milk but will drink yogurt so I spend about $10 a week just to get calcium into the boy. The baby will drink milk all day long — as long as it is chocolate.

Now let’s define what makes a milk chocolate. I add the slightest amount of Hershey’s syrup or as of late the lower sugar Nesquik. It barely changes color. (I actually worry more about the artificial sweetners in products than I do sugar.)

When my kids get real chocolate milk, like at Chik-Fil-A, they think it’s like drinking straight chocolate syrup!

I like what The Huffington Post columnist suggested of gradually reducing the sugar in chocolate milk so kids won’t notice the reduction and get it back to like 1 teaspoons of sugar vs 3 teaspoons. Although, I don’t really think companies will agree to do it universally, nor voluntarily.

What do you think: Should chocolate milk be banned from schools? Is chocolate milk being unfairly attacked? Is it really the problem or could the sodas and fast food be more to blame (oh and the lack of exercise)? Does it help your kids drink milk and get more calcium and vitamin D? When you make the chocolate milk how much chocolate (and sugar) do you add?


186 comments Add your comment

Vork

November 12th, 2009
7:19 am

Ok maybe this was just an East Cobb high school thing but once I got to high school I could actually buy a milkshake and/or cookies during lunch, oh and there were actual vending machines in the hallways that dispensed soda and candy……..and people are worried about chocolate milk???? REALLY?

Have we really solved all the worlds other problems that now we can focus on something as stupid as whether or not we have chocolate milk in school? I think not.

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
7:37 am

HAHA…if we use the argument of some posters yesterday…anything to get them to read…then it should work today…anything to get them to drink milk. This seems far more innocent.

Seems like low fat would be and advantage and counter act the chocolate but I am not a nutritionist.

I do know that schools are WAY more health conscious about what is served in the lunch room than they used to be.

Back in the dark ages…when I was a kid in Chicago, a special lunch for a fundraiser was:

a hot dog, a bag of chips, a chocolate frosted donut and a little bottle of coke ( anyone else remember those little bottles?). The moms would bring in a bottle opener and pop the tops off…
now THAT was sugar fix!

I love how the kids have strawberry and vanilla milk today…we were not that fancy when I was in school

[...] Cupcakes have been under siege for a number of years, and now it’s chocolate milk’s turn on the chopping block. According to The Huffinton Post, the complaint is that often there are more than 3 teaspoons of sugar added to the milk to make it more …Read Original Story: Should chocolate milk be banned in schools? – Atlanta Journal Constitutio… [...]

Vork

November 12th, 2009
7:43 am

@motherjanegoose

Interesting….I was born in Lombard, if you lived in Chicago you should know where that is. We moved to Marietta when I was 3 years old though.

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
7:46 am

Vork..how nice to have a pleasant column from you this early….YES I do know where that is.
The sun is shining too…we are off to a great day!

Vork

November 12th, 2009
7:49 am

@motherjanegoose

Indeed, honestly no offense, but I never would have pegged you as a chick from the midwest though….northeast maybe, but not midwest…..

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
8:06 am

I have lived in Illinois, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Texas and now Georgia….learned some things, about living in different places, along the way. Location is interesting and how people live in those
locations is even more interesting. Folks in the northeast are NOT too receptive to hiring me at first ( because I live in the south now). Once I convince them, we have a grand time and they are amazed that a southerner could actually teach them something useful…and that I do have shoes on.

Theresa…I think someone once mentioned home made smoothies in the blender….on a previous blog. Would Walsh go for that…you can get some fruit in there too and a large bag of frozen fruit at Costco is not very expensive. WOW..isn’t it great that MILK is actually affordable again?

It IS funny how different parts of the country drink milk, as adults. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, some adults order it to drink with a meal out at a restaurant. Kind of like our affinity for sweet tea, in GA.I am not really a milk drinker but the rest of my family does enjoy it.

lakerat

November 12th, 2009
8:14 am

Wow – from masturbation to chocolate milk – all in 24 hours! Theresa, I would really like to peak inside your mind!

BShepCarlin

November 12th, 2009
8:14 am

If chocolate milk is the only way to get a kid to drink milk, so be it. Tastes change and maybe later in life they will drink regular milk. I HATED milk growing up and drank chocolate milk when my mom felt generous. Now I enjoy drinking milk, just plain ol’ skim. Think we have bigger things to worry about than chocolate milk….

lakerat

November 12th, 2009
8:15 am

Then, again, maybe not!!!!

Tonya

November 12th, 2009
8:17 am

This is stupid as heck. My son LOVES chocolate milk. We don’t buy many junk foods, and sweets are usually homemade. Let kids be kids, and parents need to parent their own dang children. I hate public school now…it’s not very fun at all.

Rod

November 12th, 2009
8:18 am

We haven’t introduced our son to chocolate milk yet (almost 3) because he already LOVES plain milk. If the need arises though, we’d be willing to. Anything to get milk into him.

Apparantly (from the article), the bad side to this is an extra 5 pounds per year just from chocolate milk? We’re only talking about 180-200 school days a year and one cup per day – I doubt this is true. However, even if it is – these are kids. The only ones who would gain that extra 5 pounds are the video game – hang around the house kids. Let the kids play outside and run around and they’ll burn off that extra fat.

Calcium and exercise: a perfect combination.

Kathy

November 12th, 2009
8:19 am

Theresa….I used to babysit for a family whose youngest would only drink chocolate milk. Their doctor suggested using Ovaltine instead of the Hershey’s syrup or Nestle Quick. I guess it is because Ovaltine has more nutrients and is less sugar?

My Little E will drink low fat white milk all day long. I have never even thought of offering her chocolate milk. The only other thing she drinks is water. She will not drink juice….we decided to not even introduce that into her diet. If people think chocolate milk is full of sugar, they should be taking a look at the amounts of sugar in juices!

On a different note, chocolate milk is an awesome post-run drink. It has just the right amount of protein and carbs to speed recovery after a long run. I have it after every run that is over 6 miles. And let me tell you….there is nothing like the taste of a big glass of chocolate milk after running 10 miles!! I know that might sound weird, but it really is good!

Dave

November 12th, 2009
8:20 am

Tonya – school wasn’t made “to be fun”, it was made for learning.

John

November 12th, 2009
8:21 am

Actually, I buy the lowfat chocolate milk from Kroger and mix it with equal parts of skim milk. Plenty of chocolate flavor. I had it last night for dinner! I’m 47 and weigh in at 175 pounds.

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
8:22 am

@ tonya…did I miss it ..ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BANNING chocolate milk…NOT sure I read that but maybe it is true. My daughter does have it at her high school in Gwinnett.

@ lakerat….I also the jump to today’s topic was a LEAP from yesterday….more like a cross country sprint. Guess she’s trying to keep us interested….hahaha!

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
8:24 am

@ kathy…my Grandma was the Ovaltine queen …fond memories. We were allowed to mix up our own and make a mess…not at my house where I lived with her daughter who was my mother…we also could make out own PBJ sandwiches.

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
8:25 am

ooops: OUR own…thanks for the memory Kathy.

JATL

November 12th, 2009
8:25 am

UGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! The whole “let’s remove every speck of sugar from our schools” rampage makes me want to scream! I think most all of us who are old enough to post on here grew up with Coke machines, desserts on lunch trays, plenty of cupcake and cookie parties and bake sales and, as Vork mentioned, as we got older the option of buying cookies, snack machines, etc. When I taught 10 years ago, our school still made and sold the BEST chocolate chip cookies at lunch. THE REASONS THE KIDS ARE FAT ARE BECAUSE THERE IS TOO LITTLE RECESS AND PE, AND PARENTS DON’T MAKE THEIR KIDS PLAY OUTSIDE! Quite honestly, I don’t care if little Johnny or Susie is a tub of lard, it’s not the government or school administration’s place to start running every aspect of our kid’s lives -and ours! They most certainly should offer some healthy options and healthy school lunches (the amount of fat, salt, sodium and calories in those babies is staggering compared to a little chocolate milk). It’s up to parents and the kids to make the right choices. If we insist on taking every single choice in life away from kids, what kind of adults are we going to be looking at? This is a simple choice, and one kids can actually learn from -you eat a bunch of sugar then you feel bad and if you don’t exercise a lot you get fat. THAT is something they could really use in life!

As for chocolate milk -that and strawberry are the only types my 3 year old will drink. He’s never been big on milk, and I never was either (although I would drink chocolate and still love it). We find calcium in many other things, but he’s his proper weight and gets a ton of exercise, so why shouldn’t he have chocolate milk here or at school? And guess what -when he’s older if he starts packing it on because he’s eating a ton of sugar at school, I have no problem telling him why he’s gaining weight and that he must get more exercise!

Also, please don’t start the argument that some kids don’t have yards to play in. Boo Hoo -that’s ALWAYS been the case. That is why there are public parks and little league teams!

Dr. Horrible

November 12th, 2009
8:29 am

Well, considering that Soy milk gives you man-boobs, according to Jeremy Piven, I think I’d rather stick to the chocolate milk thank you very much.

FCM

November 12th, 2009
8:30 am

MJG there is a large group of parents who think if it gets them to drink it.

Our (Elementary) school has Chocolate and Strawberry milk plus Juice at breakfast and lunch. I have seen kids pour these flavored milks into Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops! Disgusting and probably a LARGE part of why they have behavior issues. Additionally there are chips, cookies, and fruit roll ups on sale daily and ice cream on M – W – F.

Get this sugar laden CRAP out of the schools. High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar do not belong in milk on a regular basis.

It bugs the crap out of me that I cannot bring McD or Chick Fil A or whatever to eat (or share) with my kid at lunch but they can serve this $hit daily in the cafeteria (I know its about profit not health). It also bugs me that I get notes about making sure the snack is ‘healthy’ but they can sell this junk to the kids (again profit I am sure).

MomsRule

November 12th, 2009
8:30 am

Adult milk consumption in MN is nothing like the Southern affection to sweet tea. I grew up in MN, MGJ, that statement just isn’t so.

MomsRule

November 12th, 2009
8:31 am

meant MJG…sorry

William

November 12th, 2009
8:33 am

Now the food police are raising their ugly heads! I still get shivers from dr spock who proven to be totally wrong. I want fat kids..ok? It is my constitutional right to have fat kids. If you want kids so skinny they become bohemic models that is your constitutional right. However take you Political Correctness and shove up yur a&&. It is has already killed 13 Americans this month.

MomsRule

November 12th, 2009
8:37 am

William, “it has already killed 13 Americans this month”? Can you expand on this statement? I’m not sure what you are referring to….

Dr. Horrible

November 12th, 2009
8:37 am

Wow @William you have issues. And BTW you can totally say ass here…..we’re PG-13.

slimgoodbody

November 12th, 2009
8:37 am

Why don’t we just get our schools back into physical education and then you won’t have to worry about your child being a diabetic by the age of 15.

Zaboo

November 12th, 2009
8:39 am

Screw milk, got beer?

Michelle

November 12th, 2009
8:39 am

I think this is just another way to try to fight childhood obesity. If they REALLY want to fight it, they will make PE and recess (more than 20 minutes once a day) a part of EVERY childs curriculum!

Do I think that drinking chocolate milk is going to make a kid gain 5 pounds in a year…NO WAY!! My son loves milk, as do I. (I prefer the white over chocolate though). If I had to guess, I would say he drinks chocolate milk every day at lunch. He is still just a skinny little thing too! But, he is also a VERY active child. He loves to run, jump and play outside!

Oh, MJG, have you noticed that the milk in the south tastes different than the milk in the Midwest? I didn’t believe my step-sons when they used to visit in IN and tell us that. When I moved to GA and tried the milk, they were right! It is NOT the same. Weird huh?!

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
8:40 am

Momsrule….Wow..are you saying they do or do not like milk as much as we like sweet tea? I know they are REALLY big on milk in Wisconsin and maybe less so in Minnesota. I have not lived in every area in both of those states so I guess I was speaking of the areas where I have visited. thanks for sharing. Sorry to paint with a broad brush.

It makes sense

November 12th, 2009
8:43 am

The drink that most nutritionists recommend after a hard workout, i.e. football practice, basketball practice, weightlifting, etc…is….you guessed it, chocolate milk. Lowfat, of course, as it has the perfect combination of nutrients to help muscle repair begin sooner. They don’t recommend drinking it with every meal and as a between meal snack, though. Parents have to use their common sense when giving it to their kids. Based on what I see in public and read in the papers, not too many parents have common sense anymore.
This is a good concern for the paper and the public to have. It takes our attention away from the fact that our public schools in Georgia are a joke on a national level. We don’t care if Johnny and Julie can read or do basic math, let alone higher math, or if they can tell Argentina from Acworth on a map, but don’t give ‘em chocolate milk, by God. By the way, why does Kathy Cox have so many retired teachers on her staff to answer the phones?

Kathy

November 12th, 2009
8:45 am

Speaking of the crap they serve in schools, when I was a teacher I had to go back into the kitchen one day to see the cafeteria manager about a lunch issue. As I walked through, I saw one of the cafeteria ladies dumping at least a pound of butter into a vat of green beans. I almost tossed my cookies right on the spot. I never ate school lunch again!

On a funnier note, every time I think about lunch ladies, I think of Chris Farley on SNL dancing to Adam Sandler’s song about lunch ladies……”Sloppy joe, sloppy sloppy joe!” Does anyone else remember that skit? It cracks me up just thinking about it!

Theresa Giarrusso

November 12th, 2009
8:51 am

Oh lakerat it is scary in my little head — I troll the Internet looking for interesting stories to share that is how we go from masturbation to chocolate milk — I like to keep you guys hopping!

Theresa Giarrusso

November 12th, 2009
8:52 am

sloppy joe, sloppy sloppy joe — loved that so much!! Chris Farley was hysterical!!! they couldn’t even keep it together — Farley always made Sandler lose it — so sad he is gone!!! but drug abuse is another topic.

Zaboo

November 12th, 2009
8:54 am

@Theresa Giarrusso

FAIL!!! Your comment does not have the typical darkened background that distinguishes the real slim shady’s comments from the others…..YOU ARE AN IMPOSTER…..FAIL!

Theresa Giarrusso

November 12th, 2009
8:59 am

I don’t know why it’s doing that — the dark comes and goes — It may have to do with Walsh being in the name — let’s try it

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 12th, 2009
9:00 am

did this make it dark?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 12th, 2009
9:00 am

didn’t hmm — I’ll ask the computer guys – if it worries you!

lmno

November 12th, 2009
9:07 am

My son drinks only plain milk. He doesn’t like chocolate. (He didn’t get that from me!)

I worry more about the possible antibiotics and growth horomone in large factory dairy farm milk. At home, I can buy milk from more responsible farmers, but at school, who knows where that milk originates?

Christina

November 12th, 2009
9:16 am

We haven’t introduced chocolate milk to our son yet; he’s not quite one and a half. However, he does love vanilla milk. He’ll drink plain milk, but he GULPS vanilla milk (even vanilla soy milk). When we first introduced cow’s milk to his diet, his pediatrician recommended mixing it with some vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast for added nutrition and calories (he wasn’t quite gaining as he should) and to help with the flavor transition from breast milk.

I know that I have hated milk as long as I can remember. From time to time (especially when I had raging pregnancy heartburn), I’ll drink a glass of chocolate milk. But I can barely stand regular milk in a bowl of cereal, let alone on its own.

I’m with the previous posters . . . those extra calories wouldn’t be an issue if schools would go back to having daily PE and recess. When I was a substitute in Gwinnett about five years ago, the kids only got recess every other day, and it was maybe 20 minutes. When I was in elementary school, we had 40-45 minutes of recess daily (broken into two or three recesses) in addition to PE every other day, all year long. Sure, three teaspoons of added sugar every day aren’t good. But I believe the lack of exercise holds greater blame in childhood obesity.

And Kathy, maybe it’s because I’m not a milk person, but I read that study about running and cringed. Hand me a tall glass of Tropicana after a run and I’m in heaven!

YUKI

November 12th, 2009
9:17 am

Let the kids drink chocolate milk at school. I never really liked plain milk, and i remember at school always taking chocolate milk instead. I never ate the school lunch either because I was (and still am, sadly enough) really picky. At least I was getting nutrition from the milk. I agree with what many are saying that it’s lack of excercise putting the weight on, not a little carton of chocolate milk. My son still drinks whole milk because he is not 2 yet, but I would have no problem giving him something like ovaltine. My nieces were always drinking that and they have no weight issues, not even close.
People need to calm down.

I think the poster talking about political correctness killing 13 Americans is referring to the Fort Hood shootings. If the military wasn’t so scared to offend, maybe they would have nipped this psycho in the bud and those people would still be alive. I read this morning that they were worried he might hurt Amercians. WHAT????

ps. I love the lunch lady! That hair net and mole were hilarious!

mix em together

November 12th, 2009
9:17 am

at our house and simply mix chocolate and 2% white half and half in the glass. the boys love it and the sugar is reduced

Christina

November 12th, 2009
9:17 am

lmno, can you send organic milk with your son to school? Mine is still in daycare, but I send his milk every day (for the organic reason). I think his teachers sometimes roll their eyes at it, but I don’t care. It’s one small thing in his diet that I CAN control.

Otto

November 12th, 2009
9:18 am

If you want the gets to be more fit then PE should be an entire class period as it was when I was in school.

Milk never drank the stuff, my doctor told us not to due to being borederline lactose. Let the kids have it, chocolate milk is still better than a soft drink and many fruit type drinks.

Yes Cobb schools had vending machines and milkshakes in High School 15 years ago.

Why are so many teachers retired and on staff? Because, thanks to our PC society their hands are now tied to do the job they used to do.

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
9:40 am

@ Yuki…I loved your last line….great fun!

@ kathy…when I was in HS…we called the meatloaf…mystery meat …and the tacos …coffee grounds on cardboard.

I WAS in way northern Minnesota 2 years ago ( re: 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 toast for $2.22) and drove to a little town with NO restaurants. I asked if I could just eat lunch in the cafeteria…as I was sharing a show with the Kinders. The menu was:
beanie weanies, mac and cheese, tater tots and a peach. HHMMMM….something green like celery, broccoli, green jello ( ha) or even green beans with butter would have given it a little color….! They also had milk. No way I could do it, so I asked for a cup of water.

To me, the lunches in Gwinnett County generally tend to be a little better than those in remote places.

Tonya

November 12th, 2009
9:42 am

School can be FUN! Otherwise learning becomes a chore. Why have recess then? Or art and music classes? I was in gifted from 4th-12th grade. My gifted classes were always more challenging but in a way that exercised my critical thinking skills..and they were far from boring.

MJG: I think that is where this is going. Food police piss me off. I’m not ignorant, and know the risks of making food choices for my family and myself. Kids get fat because parents don’t stop them from doing so. Obesity is a factor in my and my husband’s family, so I try to make better food decisions knowing that.

Tonya

November 12th, 2009
9:44 am

For those who asked: Mayfield provides most of the milk for the schools districts in GA.

DB

November 12th, 2009
9:46 am

Ah, the Nutrition Nazies are at it again, I see. (Toasting them with a large glass of chocolate milk! Gee, how in the world did we ever survive school, with dessert every day and class parties with lots of delicious treats and birthday cupcakes? Oh, wait — because we had recess, required PE and played outside until our parents physically dragged us back in for dinner! However, my high school only had one vending machine — in the senior lounge, as a senior privilege — and milk was the ONLY option for a drink. My high school, I think, was rare — most of us really liked the food, it was cooked well and the cafeteria manager didn’t believe in “mystery meat”. During winter exams, she would have hot chocolate set up in the cafeteria first thing in the morning, and dole out fat dollops of whipped cream. Yumm! In fact, her pies were so famous that at Thanksgiving and Christmas, she and her staff would make pecan, mincemeat and pumpkin pies and sell to families by advance order only — they usually sold several hundred — and the profit would be rolled back into her cafeteria budget. This was a public high school with about 1,200 kids.

My whole family likes milk — a couple of years ago, when both kids were in high school and my husband wasn’t gone during the week, we’d easily go through 3 gallons or more a week. The kids were always served milk at dinner, until they were old enough to have a choice between milk, tea or water. Nowadays, they choose water about as often as they choose milk, and they think sweet tea is nasty. Now we’re down to less than a gallon a week.

Thanks for the info on chocolate milk being a good after-workout drink — my son will LOVE that!

motherjanegoose

November 12th, 2009
9:54 am

@ Tonya….you have every right IMHO to make choices for your family. I believe I have the same right and while I am not a health queen, I do believe in a balanced diet.

The problem is that when too many Americans vote for government officials because the will save us from ourselves or promise to take care of us…THEY WILL. The choices we used to make for ourselves will no longer be an option…BIG BROTHER will do everything for us…wow…like eliminating chocolate milk!

If we do not want to take care of ourselves and look to our government to do things for us….that is a fast rolling snowball….right?

We have said this before but MANY school children never receive a healthy breakfast nor lunch at home…they are being fed nutritional servings AT SCHOOL on our tax dollars. I would never turn away a hungry child but parents who entrust their children to the government for most every aspect are becoming more common than not. Scary! I truly think some would let their kids STAY at school, if they could. Yes, some kids would rather STAY at school…just not the ones who have a good home life. It is really sad.

CJ

November 12th, 2009
9:54 am

This is beyond stupid.

I love chocolate milk! It was awesome getting to drink that for lunch at school in those little cartons.

School menus have sure changed. I went to middle school in Texas and our cafeteria was like nothing I have seen since. 4 different main food stations, and 1 sweet station. My friend would have their HUGE fresh made cookies or cinnamon rolls and choclate milk for lunch. Everyone loved the sweet station. I don’t know if they still have that, and the schools I’ve been to in Atlanta sure didn’t have anything that compared.

This was….15 years ago…man times were good back then for me!

Now that I am pregnant with twins…calcium is important, and along with plain milk…I have to get in my choclate milk!