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Would You Support a Ban on Chocolate Milk at Your Child's School?

A Decatur schools committee has recommended eliminating chocolate milk for K-3 students and phasing it out for higher grades. It also recommends phasing out highly processed foods, such as muffins, waffles and French toast.

A recommendation by a City Schools of Decatur committee to eliminate chocolate milk for students in kindergarten through third grade touched a nerve when the story was carried on the Facebook page of Dacula Patch.

"This just drives me nuts. I had lunch with my sons the other day & added up the calories of their school lunch - it was just over 200 calories. These kids are starving at school," one Patch reader commented. She went on to say, "Last year, I packed lunch - until my son (who's in the 5th percentile in weight - meaning in the very low end for his height) had his gogurt taken away because it wasn't healthy enough - its yogurt for gosh sakes! And, this kid is skinny as can be! And - I PACKED IT for MY KID. Yeah, there might be overweight kids, but what about the ones who really need to gain weight, have active lives & fast metabolisms?"

Another commenter said that her daughter swims five to six hours per week and does karate for another three.

"She needs the calories. In fact, her swim coach even recommends chocolate milk for replenishing after a workout," she said.

Another commenter said a check of WebMD revealed the recommended daily caloric count for an active male age 4 to 8 is 1,600 per day.

"That 220 calorie lunch is already not enough for our kids. Don't take more away," she commented. "Sorry, I think I'm sensitive on this topic... I have to watch my 48lb 7-year-old get crushed by 90 lb boys at football all of the time!" 

reported several other recommendations made to the city schools, which included eliminating highly processed versions of products, such as muffins, pancakes, waffles and French toast and replacing the foods with healthier versions.

With Georgia at No. 2 in the country for childhood obesity, according to Strong4Life.com, many feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed, but it appears others feel that banning chocolate milk could be taking it a little far.

Would you support a ban of chocolate milk in your child's elementary school or do you think that 220 calories for a elementary school student's lunch is already too low?

AH September 06, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I'm all for the chocolate milk being served. My children take their lunch everyday to middle school & have for many years. They are on the smaller side & NEED calories since they are nonstop once they get home. Can't DeKalb County find some other way to improve besides the food deal? Hopefully Barrow Co. won't work our way into the news over this one day!
Ms. Minor September 06, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I think it would be ridiculous to stop serving chocolate milk. I am just thankful the students are choosing milk at all, so the chocolate part is a compromise on my part. As long as they're drinking MILK as opposed to something much worse, like soda, for example, I'm supportive of any flavor they want.
Steven Hawn September 06, 2012 at 01:38 PM
News flash Barrow County already has gone to White Skim Milk only. So they are even worse than the schools on the story.
Darcey Bailey September 06, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Wow Steve that was just an uncalled for comment. School Nutrition is a very important subject and I applaud our first lady for attempting to make lunches healthier. Gwinnett County has a good lunch daily, but there are plenty of places around the country that do not. Lunches when I was younger were pizza, french fries and dessert. Not exactly the healthiest.
Steve R. September 06, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Well Darcy, most don't send their children to school for the menu. Georgia schools don't rank so well nationwide. If your kid can't read the words "chocolate milk", it probably doesn't matter what he drinks at lunch.
tab123 September 06, 2012 at 02:59 PM
She said Gwinnett county has good lunches? Have you ever eaten/seen the food they are trying to serve to us now at mchs? It's nasty and the portions are tiny. I bet the lunch ladies don't even like half the food that they are forced to serve.
Vanzetta Evans (Editor) September 06, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Flag on the play Steve! No need for disparaging comments about someone's natural shape.
Steve R. September 06, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Okay. I will delete. My apologies.
Susan September 06, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Right On-get Calcium into those bones any way you can! Hey they aren't cutting pizza, and all the starches, why chocolate Milk. So Salts OK?
Darcey Bailey September 06, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Well, Gwinnett County won a national award for healthiest school lunches in 2009 http://www.healthyschoollunches.org/carrot/09winners.cfm I think kids are quick to call healthier food as nasty. If it was all fried food they would all love it. There has to be a balance somewhere. As far as the portions go, I'm not positive. http://www.ajc.com/news/lifestyles/school-lunches-require-more-vegetables-and-fruits-/nQXmP/ Read that, the AJC posted what the requirements are for lunches, if your schools aren't meeting those then go talk to the school board!
Darcey Bailey September 06, 2012 at 04:33 PM
"Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's New Meal Pattern (Nutrition Standards) for School Meals, which became effective July 1, calorie limits are set for meals: grades k-5, 550-650 calories; grades 6-8, 600-700 calories; grades 9-12, 750-850 calories. Schools must certify they are fulfilling the requirements and non-compilers risk losing subsidies. Schools are required to serve larger portions of fruits and vegetables, and students must take at least one fruit or vegetable serving per meal. Schools must offer dark green vegetables, orange/red vegetables and legumes at least once a week, eliminate all added trans-fat and serve only 1 percent or nonfat milk. Under the new regulations all grains -- in breads and pastas -- must be "whole grain rich." "Gwinnett County Schools won USDA awards for its farm-to-school program. Still, no matter where the food came from, you've still got to get fickle-palleted teens to eat it, said Ken Yant, director of school nutrition. While the new federal law requires kids to put vegetables and fruits on their lunch tray, it can't force them to swallow."
Steve R. September 06, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Or, God forbid, you pack your child's lunch yourself. A small bit of personal responsibility goes a long way in a child's life. Good Grief!
Darcey Bailey September 06, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Steve - remember the very large amount of students that are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Those parents probably cannot afford to pack a lunch everyday. It's great that you can and other parents can but there are some parents out there that highly depend on the breakfast/lunch the school provides.
Sushi September 06, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Banning chocolate milk isn't going to help the situation. We need to take preventative measures, but taking something away isn't really the best idea. I'm a college student now, and I realize that one of the hardest things to deal with is all the choices. Students need to learn how to make decisions in the face of positive and negative influences. I see 18- and 19- year olds eating a burger and fries everyday. (Of course, that could also be the case because the food at our dining hall isn't that healthy and isn't of the best quality). Nonetheless, the focus should be on educating kids about what is right for them. Every child is different, as I have read in the posts above. For example, athletes need more calories. If they don't get enough energy, it's like not getting enough water - the school system would be putting them at risk. The same is true for children who are underweight. Those who are overweight, which is a large number these days, really should be eating less. I know that it's not possible to have individualized plans in these large public schools, but shouldn't we make more of an effort as a community - students, teachers, parents combined to teach children what is healthy to eat and what is not? Taking away chocolate milk isn't the way to do it. Maybe that's the only kind of milk some students even drink. Taking away choices doesn't teach anyone how to make them. Children might not have the best decision-making ability, but we have to do our best to help them.
Darcey Bailey September 06, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I agree. My oldest is a football players and his lunch time at SGHS is 10:08am! By the time school is over at 2:15 he goes to practice until 5:30-6pm. I always make sure he has something else with him to eat around 1:30 or so, protein bars/meal replacement bars, etc. Something to keep his energy up.
Vanzetta Evans (Editor) September 06, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Chocolate milk has a lot of sugar. But calcium is also good for kids. I think it should be a sometimes treat, like once a week. It's like putting cheese on top of broccoli.
Tammy September 06, 2012 at 06:22 PM
All of you are saying that all the children need to eat more healthy choices at school, but have you seen or ate your child's school lately??? Do you realize that because of the extreme measures that are being used to make sure the children eat healthy, that 98% of the food on your children's tray is being thrown away. That is a lot of food. That is a waste. Yes, I agree that all the children need to eat healthy, but what they are actually doing is going hungry all day because the food tastes and looks disgusting. How can they concentrate on school work, if their stomachs are growling because they are so hungry??? Is this all worth it, is it worth your child going hungry??? Why don't we give a list of healthy foods for the children to pick from on what THEY want to eat, what they would like to see on the menu??? It is the children that are eating the food, not us. My kids said that the food at the school smells like dog food and looks so gross, they throw away the whole tray of food. Think about it. Is it worth your child starving, throwing away food...just so you can make a big deal over chocolate milk, pancakes, muffins, etc....It is not worth my child's health to worry about them getting 240 calories at lunch time...because if you think about it, they are getting NONE. Because they are not eating the nasty food.
AH September 06, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Mr. Hawn, our middle school does have choc. milk has an option still.
Kaleh Sapp September 06, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Tammy, when I was a kid I turned my nose up at a lot of foods. I hated asparagus, onions, cooked tomatoes, beans, green peppers, the list goes on... But the truth is that I never even tried them! Today I love all of those foods. Kids need to be exposed to flavors. Some say that you have to taste a food at least 10 times before you like it. By giving the kids whatever they want, we are training their palettes to like sugary and fatty foods. As far as "starving"... if they were hungry enough, they'd eat!!! At the least, limit chocolate milk to a once per week treat. Drinking sugary chocolate milk every day is like drinking a soda every day. The calcium doesn't cancel out the bad stuff! There's plenty of other ways to get calcium, in fact milk isn't even the best source.
Tammy September 07, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I did not say to give them whatever they want. I said....give the kids a LIST of the healthy foods that everyone wants them to eat, and let the KIDS pick the ones off the list that they want on the menu. My kids eat lots of vegetables that other kids don't eat, but it is the how the food is being cooked, prepared that they are turning their noses up at it. So, you are telling me that if you had a choice to eat something that smells like dog poop, or go hungry that you would eat the stuff that smells like dog poop??? Me personally...i would go hungry. Why can't the kids have healthy GOOD food, why are we telling them to either eat this or go hungry??? Wow...talk about having no respect for kids.
Christine Tucker September 07, 2012 at 11:54 AM
To me the issue with chocolate milk is not the calories, but the sugar. Even thin children get way too much sugar which in turn will become a blood sugar issue and will contribute to the diabetic epidemic that we are facing in this country. One in three Americans is pre diabetic. I actually would contend that kids should drink more whole milk - they do need to fat to grow up healthy - but take out all of the sugar and overly processed foods. I agree that the waste in schools is appalling. Having the kids more involved in lunch choices is a good idea. I think a school garden where the kids help grow the food will encourage eating of more veggies. We are not pleased with what is offered for our children so our family has made the choice to pack lunches each day. No one is forcing kids to buy school lunches.
WalkerSmith Body Shop September 07, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Wow, never thought the Nestle Quik bunny would be seen as the bad guy:)
Melissa Steele September 07, 2012 at 03:32 PM
That is absurd. Maybe they could add chocolate coconut milk instead. It is DELICIOUS and packed with vitamins and nutrients not found in cows milk, plus is lower in sugar. It's the best chocolate milk I've ever had...does not taste like coconut just very chocolate-y. See it in your grocery store where the boxed milk is. You will be amazed when you read the label.
Tammy September 07, 2012 at 04:21 PM
The next food they will take away is fruit, because OMG it has natural sugar in it!!! I was reading about natural sugar vs refined sugar, and evidently some people do not realize that natural sugar can be just as bad as refined sugar. So, now they are going to want us to stop eating fruit too, because God forbid you have any sugar what so ever. Like everything else in life, keep it in moderation. If you keep your sugar intake in moderation, like your the food on your plate...then it won't be bad at all. Also, get your kids off the couch and away from tv and game consoles...and you may see a difference there too. Exercise is just as important, if not more important than what you are eating. Isn't that living by example too??? Get the kids outside, instead of keeping them cooped up in the house all the time, because your too afraid to let them play. Get them in sports or something, quit blaming it all on the food.
Carrie M September 07, 2012 at 05:43 PM
You realize there is more sugar in chocolate milk than in soda right? They should hire a nutritionist to all the schools and get healthier choices in the menu
Robert Thomas. Sr. September 07, 2012 at 08:53 PM
On Wednesday the NY Times had a major article about under the new Obama administration school lunch guidelines kids are going hungry in NYC schools, where for many school food is a large part of their daily caloric intake, and the point was made that for children up to 10 yo or so limiting fat calories is devastating to their development, especially of the brain. I have talked with students at Camp Creek and they now bring their lunch in many cases since once you remove the deep fat fryers certain foods become nearly inedible. And these were athletic students. And as to the school employee who took the yogurt away I'd simply swear out a warrant against that person for theft. Without getting too political this is what you can expect from the Dems who want to control many aspects of your life and from their noxious hangers-on, the uber-educated in no useful discipline (the most noxious of which is NYC mayor Bloomberg) - they do what they want in their private schools, and the peasants do what they're told. Pfui!
DiAnna Satterfield Cronic September 09, 2012 at 02:00 PM
I work at a Gwinnett cunty middle school. I also have a child in middle school who is very under-weight. I pack his lunch daily to assure that he has a well balanced meal. I have seen changes over the last few years that I don't agree with. String cheese is no longer allowed and now you can't have crackers for soup. What is crazy is that yogurt is offered as an entree and is loaded with sugar. I asked if we were ever going to get string cheese or crackers again and was told "No, and you can thank Michelle Obama for that.". I buy organic chocolate milk from Costco and although it contains higher amounts of sugar than I like, it also has vitamins A & D. It still has 12 fewer grams of sugar than Coke. I have always hated the taste of milk and the only way I will drink it even as an adult is when it is chocolate. You would not belive the amount of waste because students don't even eat what they get, but throw it away. So is going hungry because you don't like the food better? At least you won't gain weight. I keep waiting on them to remove the PB&J sandwiches because it has sugar. I think the government needs to use stop trying to control everthing. Removing fried food is one thing, but please give me some crackers with my soup.
DiAnna Satterfield Cronic September 09, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Sorry for the typo in Gwinnett "county".

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