GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - In an effort to make school lunches healthier, school districts across the country and locally have made some changes over the past year and now the attention has been turned to chocolate milk.
School District 51 officials say they've made great strides in improving the quality of school lunches. It started with soft drinks. Pop was taken off the menu completely.
Now some want to take it one step further, turning their attention to chocolate milk. "I feel that chocolate milk isn't really necessary and primarily for one reason, it's a sugar high," says mother Jane Wood. "More sugar can cause more cavities and that's a big issue," says mother of two, Erica Fournier.
Some districts across the country, including Boulder, have already pulled the flavored milk from the menu, an issue that School District 51 is watching closely. "It's definitely something we're keeping our eye on, if you look on the Internet there are tons of updates on both sides of the argument," says Dan Sharp, director of nutrition for School District 51.
A new study shows that in one of the school districts that eliminated chocolate milk, total milk consumption dropped by 67 percent,
and kids not drinking as much milk is a concern to some. "I don't think chocolate milk should be targeted, some of the kids I council, it's the only milk they drink all day," says Vanessa Carter. Carter is a nutritionist and says the negative consequences of removing chocolate milk definitely outweigh the health benefits. "If you take away the chocolate milk and they don’t choose the regular milk then they aren’t getting the calcium and you open them up to a host of other problems," she says.
School District 51 agrees. "There's many other healthy incentives that we believe have a much higher degree of impact than removing chocolate milk," says Sharp. District 51 plans to continue to give the kids the choice of chocolate or regular milk at school, leaving the debate at home. "I think it's better to have just plain milk but the occasional chocolate milk is not a big deal either," says Fourier. "It's not a big deal, but if I had a choice, I'd toss it," says Wood.
Click the link below for more information on the debate.