The great chocolate milk debate
Have you been following the news on chocolate milk bans? Recently the Los Angeles school district passed a ban as a way to help address rising obesity among students. My guess is other districts will follow. Now I usually don’t take up issues like this one–I’m concentrating on getting my kids to experiment with new foods and flavors, from chocolate bacon to roasted asparagus. But chocolate milk happens to be one of my favorite drinks. I literally run for chocolate milk; it’s my sports drink of choice. So I just wanted to highlight a few points that I’ve been following as the debate unfolds, and leave it to my readers to share their opinions. (My kids take their lunch to school anyway and I send in water to drink.)–
Milk vs. Juice. According to the Los Angeles Times report about the ban, “A cup of fat-free chocolate milk served in L.A. Unified has 120 calories, with 20 grams (80 calories) of sugar. Strawberry fat-free milk has 130 calories, with 26 grams of sugar. White, plain nonfat milk has 90 calories, with 12 grams of sugar.” Compare that to 1 cup of orange juice, which has 112 calories and 20.83 grams of sugar.
Cafeteria insights. When my kids do eat at the cafeteria they only choose flavored milk–surprisingly strawberry. They say the regular milk tastes funny. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a little carton of milk, but maybe that’s another reason kids are reaching for flavors. Maybe it’s not just about the sweetness (although I’m sure that helps).
Sports drink? I’m not just a chocoholic on this point (okay, well maybe I am), but there’s research to back me up here. Compared to typical sports drink choices, chocolate milk helped athletes recover better after a tough workout. Now, this doesn’t necessarily figure into the school debate–after all, if all the kids were endurance athletes the obesity problem wouldn’t exist. But chocolate milk can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet. Moderation in all things, right?
One mom’s opinion. In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, say-it-like-it-is mom Jen Singer talks about how her son wouldn’t get any nutrition in his lunch, without a little help from chocolate milk. Here’s a sample: “Let’s face it: Chocolate milk is like broccoli hidden in mashed potatoes. It’s the way parents sneak nutritional content into something palatable to kids who choose their breakfast cereal not by the quality of its content but by the cartoon characters on the box.”
Your turn–what do you think about the chocolate milk debate?