We’ve noted before that chocolate milk is both a favorite choice of thirsty schoolchildren and a favorite target of anti-milk and anti-sweets activists. Two stories, one from West Virginia and the other from North Carolina, provide yet more evidence that kids appreciate a “spoonful of sugar” to help down the vitamins and minerals milk provides.
In West Virginia, Cabell County schools have put non-fat chocolate milk back on the lunch lines because kids “boycotted the [unflavored] milk,” according to the school district’s Director of Food Services. In Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina schools will keep chocolate milk after a parental outcry forced the food cop school superintendent to back off a planned ban.
It’s no surprise that parents would rather see their kids offered the choice of chocolate milk. Milk provides important nutrients, and kids don’t magically move to the unflavored stuff if their options disappear. One study found that elementary school children drank 35 percent less milk after misguided chocolate milk bans.
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said that “kids are not drinking enough milk,” any policy that would reduce milk consumption puts kids at risk of not getting enough nutrients. And the bans aren’t even saving that many calories: Fat-free chocolate milk has about the same number of calories as 2-percent unflavored milk.
We’ll leave the last word to Winston-Salem/Forsyth School Board Chairman Donny Lambeth, who nailed the key issues in the chocolate milk debate:
I talked to many folks, including a mom today who gave me many reasons why we should not ban (chocolate) milk. I believe it is not the schools’ responsibility to regulate choices on milk products, and it seems some milk — even if chocolate — is better than no milk.