To serve chocolate milk or not in schools?

To serve chocolate milk in schools or not?

There has been way too much debate going on about whether to serve chocolate milk or not at schools. Both sides of the issue make valid claims. The anti-obesity community claims that all the extra sugar results in added calories that leads to an increase in childhood obesity, while the other side claims that milk has a lot of nutrients and even if kids are drinking sugar loaded milk they are still getting minerals and nutrients at a vulnerable point in their lives as milk contains nine essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin D and protein. Serving chocolate milk in school cafeterias is sending the wrong message to children that chocolate milk is a healthy choice, but most kids will not drink plain milk as they don’t like the taste. Flavored milk is okay as an occasional treat but the main problem is that most kids only drink flavored milk.

Leaving aside arguments on whether humans should be consuming cow’s milk and whether milk is really needed in a kid’s diet, what I have failed to understand is why does it have to be an all or nothing solution?

Milk is good for kids. I also know that broccoli has more calcium than milk does, but I also recognize that is much easier for my toddler and preschooler to slurp milk than it is to eat the equivalent amount of greens or nuts etc…

Why not make chocolate milk with less sugar? From my perspective that is a win-win solution for both sides of the camp. 70% of the milk consumed by the kids in school cafeteria is chocolate so why not make chocolate milk with less sugar?  I bet you the company to do this first will most likely capture a significant % of the market share.

Finally as parents it should be our job to limit consumption of sugar laded flavored milk for kids once we transition them from breast milk or formula. In my case when I transitioned my daughter to milk she wouldn’t drink plain milk, we had to give her flavored milk. However the difference was we didn’t use chocolate syrups, we used unsweetened cocoa powder and added in flavors and added  sugar if needed on our own. We also rotated the flavors between chocolate, a homemade made powder of various nuts and spices and omega 3 liquid.

With time we gradually cut back on the quantity of chocolate and sugar in the milk and now both my kids drink plain milk.

What do you think?  Flavored milk yummy or yucky? Stay in or get expelled from school?



  1. Erika says:

    I think the whole debate about regulating the kind of milk kids drink at school is ridiculous. My dad was a pediatrician, and the one nutrition thing he really cared about was making sure the kids got enough calcium – he’d call me every day to make sure they were drinking enough milk. A little extra sugar isn’t going to hurt most kids. The benefit of the nutrients in the milk makes the sugar worthwhile. Agree that they could make chocolate milk with less sugar and kids would still drink it – and I would certainly buy little cartons of chocolate milk for lunchboxes if they had less sugar – but, truthfully, I buy them anyway and put them in every day, because I want to make sure my kids are GETTING ENOUGH CALCIUM. Period.

  2. Cora says:

    Yes kids need calcium but chocolate milk served at schools does more harm than good in my opinion. With the current childhood obesity epidemic and all of the pre-diabetic kids out there, the last thing we need to be giving them is daily doses of subsidized sugar-in-a-box.

    My kids drink plenty of regular milk but when I start giving them flavored milk, they of course prefer that and drink less regular milk. (makes me wonder what is worse when it comes to feeding junk food to kids – the actual detrimental health effects or kids’ subsequent rejection of healthy foods that do not contain the levels of sugar/fat/salt as they are used to)

  3. Rashmi says:

    Interesting point about the subsequent rejection of healthy foods that do not contain the levels of sugar/fat/salt. I have noticed that with my kids too.

Speak Your Mind