Illustrations: Tom Garrett; Shutterstock.com
Dear Ms. Fox,
You recently announced that our school district might stop serving chocolate milk in our cafeterias. I thought it might be helpful to hear the perspective of a student—and chocolate-milk lover—on this important issue.
After extensive research, I’ve learned that chocolate milk has many health benefits for kids like me. Although it may seem like just a tasty treat, it’s actually filled with nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is especially good for kids my age because we are still growing, and calcium helps build healthy bones. In addition, chocolate milk contains protein and healthy fats that keep kids full and focused throughout the day.
Of course, regular milk provides those same benefits—as do other foods like spinach and nuts—and with less sugar. But let’s be honest: Banning chocolate milk doesn’t mean kids will choose something healthier instead. A study by Cornell University found that chocolate-milk bans can lead to kids drinking less milk overall. And when have you ever heard a kid say, “There’s no chocolate milk? In that case, I’ll have some spinach, please!” What would probably happen is that we’d drink more soda or sweetened fruit drinks, which are just as sugary (if not more) but don’t have the same health benefits.
Here’s another problem: food waste. When schools in Los Angeles began serving only plain milk in 2011, tons of milk—and money—was wasted. Hardly anyone drank the plain milk, and much of it ended up in the trash. For this reason, L.A. schools put chocolate milk back on the menu in 2018.
Chocolate milk clearly deserves a place in our cafeteria. I hope that you will take my points into consideration as you make your decision.