Melissa Mellor

Food Fight Rages Over Chocolate Milk

Educators are familiar with the ongoing battles over vending machines that offer soda and other unhealthy snacks to students. But chocolate milk is at the center of the latest food fight.

NPR reports that schools across the country have eliminated chocolate milk from their lunchroom offerings because of its high sugar content. The dairy industry is fighting back with its "Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk Campaign," which contends that kids drink less milk—and miss out on its nutritional benefits—when chocolate milk is removed as an option.

The NPR story quotes renegade lunch lady Ann Cooper, director of Nutrition Services for Boulder's public schools, who removed chocolate milk from her district's lunchrooms a few years ago. "Chocolate milk is soda in drag, as far as I'm concerned," she says. "In many chocolate milks, there's 3.1 grams of sugar per ounce. Soda is 3.3. It's so close."

Ann Marie Krautheim, senior vice president of Nutrition Affairs for the National Dairy Council, counters that the amount of sugar in chocolate milk is an acceptable trade-off for the essential nutrients milk provides.

Which side of this food fight are you on?

You can read more about school food offerings and other health education topics in Health & Learning, ASCD's December/January issue of Educational Leadership.

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