SparkPeople Blogs  •  nutrition  •  news

I'm Not Raising My Hand for Chocolate Milk

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I'm not a big fan of the taste of milk, but I drink it because I think it's good for you. Add some chocolate syrup to it, and of course I like it even more. But at that point, is the milk becoming more like a dessert? A new campaign is trying to keep chocolate milk as a choice in school cafeterias, saying that taking it away will do more harm than good.

Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk is the campaign designed to show support for chocolate milk as an important part of a healthy diet. The website uses celebrity testimonials and asks people to show support for keeping chocolate milk in schools by signing a petition on Facebook.

Recently, I purchased a kid's meal for my daughter at a restaurant known for their soup and sandwiches. She had a grilled cheese that came with organic yogurt and her choice of white or chocolate milk. Although we picked white, when we got home we realized that we'd gotten chocolate by mistake. My husband opened it up to give it to her, and I asked to look at the label first. This small carton of chocolate milk had 27 grams of sugar in it. She'd be just as well-off to eat a Hershey bar (strictly comparing how much sugar was in each item.) So we ditched the chocolate milk and I found some white milk for her instead.

I guess I'm lucky that my child likes white milk. Maybe I'd be more tempted to give her chocolate milk if that's the only way I could get her to drink it. But I'd like to think that I'd find a different way to make white milk exciting, rather than adding a bunch of sugar to it. Many times I think it all comes down to what kids are used to. If they are used to eating a lot of sweets and refined sugar, they develop a taste for it and it can be tough to get them to eat and drink things that taste more "plain". But if sugar isn't a staple in their diet, they don't miss what they aren't getting.

Should they remove chocolate milk as an option from the school lunch line? I'm not sure. But I do feel strongly that no one should be marketing chocolate milk as a "healthy" choice for kids.

What do you think?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


a couple thoughts for you. When I was a kid, chocolate milk was only available as an option on fridays.

Second thought, I'm allergic to milk. always have been although back then, (60s) you were only counted as being allergic if you got anaphylaxis from it. I've believed I was allergic since I was 7-8. and I quit drinking milk at 10. except for on cereal. and if it was chocolate milk. and if it was Icecream. and if it was Cheese. it wasn't til the late 80s that you started hearing of other manifestations of milk allergies.

So I don't believe that anybody NEEDS milk, and I don't believe that it will hurt to cut back on the availability of chocolate milk, I believe that as long as milk is considered necessary to children's health, chocolate will enhance their willingness to drink it. However, I believe the AMOUNT of chocolate could be limited or controlled by offering chocolate packets like the flavor sticks for water so the child while feeling like he's getting a treat to add to his milk, will actually be getting less sugar. but I would not give them to any child if it had artificial sweeteners in it. Kids, just like the rest of us, can get used to LESS sweet in our foods and drinks, if that's the way it is offered. Report
As an aside 8 ounces of whole chocolate milk is the research determined best after workout drink since it is a balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Considering the activity level of children which mimics an interval workout I am not convinced that chocolate milk in moderation is a nutrition negative beverage. Report
I haven't had milk in over 20 years. I drink juice fortified with vitamin D. I don't get the logical connection to drink another mammals milk. Report
I had no idea the sugar content was equivalent to a candy bar serving! Report
Personally I think that chocolate milk is one thing I can do without, I don't care all that much for it and if I want it I think its healthier for ME to add the chocolate to it. (I have a container of Quik somewhere) . Also I know in Canada at least they supposedly use all the milk that is getting old and nearing its sell by date and mix it all up and use THAT for the base for chocolate milk (at least that was what I was told) makes sense when you think how little you can taste the milk in it. Report
the article made me laugh as am drinking a chocolate instant breakfast as i spark along so i disagre with you sorrry Report
(Sorry, for some reason my comment posted on the wrong article.) Report
I think there are bigger issues in our schools than whether we should remove the chocolate milk. If all parents were created equal & taught their kids to make the better choice of drinking the non-flavored, no fat choice, then schools wouldn't even have to offer anything else. But known fact, as things stand now I think both choices should be available so kids can get at least a little calcium in their diet. There are too many kids coming to school where the meals offered there are the best meal they're going to get. So pressure should be put on the dairy industry to make their milk with less sugar. Or pressure on the government who subsidizes school lunch & breakfast programs to purchase better quality of milk or serve non-dairy alternatives to serve our nation's future. Report
Both the chocolate milk and white milk served at the public schools are of such poor quality that my children won't drink either one of them. That's bad, when even the chocolate milk is inedible, what a waste of money.

We are not big milk drinkers, don't like to drink our calories, but I wouldn't want to live in a world without dairy products. Report
I definitely think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to raising kids eating/drinking the right stuff. In my house, it was always skim milk, diet soda, fat-free salad dressing...I just developed a taste for it. Friends were always so puzzled that I genuinely preferred skim milk over regular. My parents, in later years, made the switch to 1%, but I just can't stand the taste of it - I can FEEL the fat coating my tongue. Same goes for regular soda. Sure I enjoy it on occasion, but I just cannot do it any more than that. Though I am overweight, I am very thankful for my mother raising me to be as healthy as she could make me. As I concentrate on getting healthier, I'm taking a lot of my cues from her - she is a PHENOMENAL cook, and an absolute genius at cutting out excess fat/calories from a recipe. It's just second nature to her. Report
It's funny - I LOVE milk (I refused soda or juices as a child and drank skim milk with EVERYTHING) and love chocolate, but absolutely hated chocolate milk. Not sure why, but I definitely don't raise my hand to it!
Chocolate milk every day? No. Chocolate milk as an occasional treat? Yes. In school when I was a kid and for my kids, chocolate milk isn't allowed except on the every-other-week "pizza day". White milk is the norm, but a treat in moderation needs to be OK too. Report
Honestly, I've been reading so much lately on how human beings should be staying away from milk... There are numerous other foods with calcium naturally in them- think about the cows themselves! Wild cattle eat a completely veggie diet of wild grasses, leaves and flowers, and they have very strong bones. Also, we are the only species on this planet which a) drinks mild after being weaned, and b) drinks the milk of ANOTHER species! Stop the milk drinking I say! Report
I am not a big fan of milk either, and cannot tolerate soy milk, so I have started drinking almond milk. It has a different flavor, and my son really likes it! Report
i don't like milk either. so I drink alternatives and eat yogurt. Report
I think if children are drinking chocolate milk, it's better than getting hooked on candy, cookies and donuts. I think it satisfies the sugar cravings an most children develope an unhealthy attachment to it, like I have for anything bread. Report
Hi, I was never a chocolate milk drinker but now have started to drink it as a recovery drink after a workout based on info on the web site. Supposedly the protein/carbs ratio is perfect for protein absortion. to help in the recovery process after a workout. Report
That really is a tough one...too many kids won't drink milk unless it's you suppose someone could create something with less sugar AND a good taste for these kids?? Report
There seems to be a general assumption that we need to find some way to drink milk ourselves or ensure our children drink milk - not necessary - all the nutrients contained in milk can be found from other sources. Many with lactose intolerance or for other health, ethical or animal welfare reasons don't drink milk and are perfectly healthy. If kids don't want to drink milk, I would say, find alternatives to obtain the nutrients you are counting on milk to deliver. If the kids like milk, then reason and moderation is the key. Report
My nephew refused to drink white milk, but would drink chocolate milk. He needs the milk and the calcium, so I would much rather he access to chocolate milk than to drink no milk at all. And as some others have said, the REAL problem with school lunches isn't the white/chocolate milk option. It's the rest of the meals like the greasy pizza and tater tots that really needs to be looked at. Report
A little chocolate milk isn't a "biggie" to me. A person could drive themselves nuts and their children if they obsess over every little choice.

When my children were little I watched every morsel they ate for the first two years and then my hubby introduced them to chocolate..I wasn't very happy at first but looking back now they are healthy young adults and they don't have eating disorders nor do they obsess over food. Report
Unflavored milk has 12 grams of sugar per cup, which makes up a significant portion of the sugar in the chocolate milk. A chocolate bar on the other hand, has about 53 grams of sugar and none of the calcium of milk.

It's great that your child loves white milk, but many do not. For those who don't, it is very difficult to get the calcium they need, which is every bit as important a nutritional consideration as a slight increase in sugar. Report
Moderation is key and it's the parents job to teach it!
I hated milk from day one. My mother told me I didn't even like my formula as a baby. When I started school, just like at home, I was forced to drink milk everyday. I still hated it. But I managed to choke it down. When I got old enough that they didn't make you take milk with your school lunch, I quit drinking it. I get a little bit of milk in cooking, and have some with my oatmeal every morning, But since I get kidney stones, I don't think I'm going to worry too much about not getting enough calcium (excess calcium can cause kidney stones). I remember on Fridays, when we would have chocolate milk at school, it was so much better than the plain white stuff. So if giving kids a little chocolate in their milk helps get them to drink it--I don't think it hurts anything. My kids all liked milk, and my grandkids almost always drink milk. I don't hesitate to buy chocolate milk for them when I know they're coming out to my house, and add some chocolate syrup to the white milk if we don't have any chocolate milk on hand. I know they need the calcium and nutrients that are in milk, so I'm glad they like it either way. Report
If chocolate milk is such a poor nutritional choice, then why isn't a Chocolate Soy Milk provided? Because I believe it is a healthier choice, I don't hesitate giving it to my daughter. Report
I refused to consume milk as a child. I would carry my little white cup from the dollar tree with my name in sharpie. As far back as kindergarden I can remember drinking water instead of the alternative. My son on the other hand, would drink a gallon of milk a day if allowed. I think it is the parents responsibility to instill decision making skills in their children. However, I believe if that decision was left up to a child they would be led by temptation rather than the value of a healthy decision :) I think it should not be available to children. Report
Is milk really in actuality healthy ? Humans are the ONLY species on earth that drink the "milk" of another animal. Dairy cows are raised in deplorable conditions, they are fed hormones and antibiotics that most parents would never dream of allowing their children to ingest. Milk just seems unnatural to me. Report
I have always strongly disliked white milk. As a child I had to finish my glass of milk before I could leave the dinner table. The dishes would be cleared and washed, and there I would sit at the dinner table -- my glass of white milk and me. I would stare at it, and it would stare back. It made me gag and to this day I still do not like it. Finally, that torture was abandoned. I did however enjoy chocolate milk and drank it readily.
It took me years to learn to enjoy other dairy products: cottage cheese, cheese, and yogurt. I also am trying to take calcium supplements more regularly.
I believe that not drinking milk regularly as a child was not good for my bones. When children cannot tolerate white milk but will drink chocolate milk, that's a good thing in my opinion. Low-fat, low-sugar choc milk obviously makes more sense. If the milk is organic, all the better. Report
If given the choice of milk or chocolate milk i always chose chocolate milk... ALWAYS. That said, to this day i can't stand sugary cereals because we weren't allowed to eat them at home and so I never developed a taste for them. And i'm certain that's a good thing. The reality is, if it's white milk or water, it's win win. Obesity in children is an epidemic and I'm glad steps are being taken in the school system, however small. I'm with you, I'm NOT raising my hand for chocolate milk. Report
How about SUGAR FREE chocolate milk? I agree with the writer that 27 grams of sugar is a lot- especially with how hyper it can make kids. WHy can't the schools get milk with splenda or equal? Sugar can't be THAT much cheaper! Report
when I was a kid, they only offered choc milk once a week, I think. No more than that. But as a kid, I would drink white milk, only at school, and probably never finished the litte carton of milk. As an adult I hate white milk, I don't even drink what is left after cereal. The only way I will drink milk is if it is choc. Really if they get rid of choc milk, then those kids that won't drink reg milk, won't be drinking milk at all, and choc milk is better than no milk. We all need calcium, and most don't get enough Report
When I was in elementary school they didn't start selling chocolate milk till 6th grade. I did not like milk. There weren't as much sugary foods back when I was a kid. I guess they were starting to add sugar to things in the 60s, but it wasn't like it is now. My Mom would put a little Hershey powder chocolate milk mix in a baggie for me to pour into my milk so I would have something to drink with my lunch. Then I remember around 3rd or 4th grade they started selling packets in the grocery store that could be taken to school and easily added to the white milk. By 6th grade they were selling chocolate milk.

I still drink chocolate milk. I have 1-2 glasses a day with nonfat or 1% milk. I buy the lower sugar type. I guess my experience leads me to want to raise my hand for chocolate milk in schools for kids who don't like milk. LIke others have mentioned, they really need to focus more on having better balanced meals with less sodium and fat, & more fruits and veggies.
Nestle' makes a "no sugar added" chocolate mix to make chocolate milk....I don't remember the nutrition facts for it, but it is pretty yummy....I only get it when I am CRAVING chocolate milk :) Report
I think chocolate milk in schools, and in general, is fine. As others have said, it's all about moderation. Having one chocolate milk carton once in awhile at school or while dining out for lunch is not a big deal in the grand scheme of life. Perhaps the concern should be focused more on the fat, calories, perservatives and sodium of the food served in schools as well as with the breakfasts and dinners parents make for their kids. And based on your dining out experience, depending on the ingredients used, you might want to be more concerned with how much sodium was in the grilled cheese sandwich your daughter ate vs. the sugar in the "unhealthy" chocolate milk. Report
chocolate milk is fine. plain milk has sugars (brittbritt gives the nutrition facts). variety and balance are what we all need. and i think that chocolate milk is a fine option to have along with milk, 100% juice and water. Report
I think that chocolate milk in schools is fine. There certainly are more nutrients in chocolate milk than soda or even most fruit juices.
Like another commenter, I have always mixed my chocolate milk with 1/2 skim milk and love it! After I play a couple of hours of tennis or workout at the gym if I am at the grocery store I will purchase a chocolate milk since I am not home to make a healthy post workout snack and I feel completely fine and healthy about it. There is a lot of sugar in the milk but I could be putting a lot worse in my body than a small carton of chocolate milk. Everything in moderation... Report
The only way i can drink milk is if it is chocolate. Even then, if i drink much of it I get an upset stomach. The chocolate milk should be available to enable the children that need chocolate to be able to drink milk. It is a proven fact that chocolate interacts with an enzyme in milk that allows some people to drink milk that normally can't. Report
I appreciate that sparkpeople offers us different bloggers for different perspectives but sometimes I get confused. I thought sparkpeople recommended chocolate milk as an excellent post workout snack? Wouldn't the protein and nutrients that are good for us also be good for children? Report
When I was a kid, we got white milk at school with the occasional chocolate milk as a treat - I loved it! I drank it when I was pregnant and my stomach felt queasy from "morning" (or rather "all-day") sickness. It was one of the few things I could keep down that gave me the calories I needed. Now my taste has changed and I find commercial chocolate milk too sweet, but I still have the occasional cup of skim milk with reduced sugar chocolate powder after workouts. Moderation is the key!

When I read about kids pouring chocolate milk on froot loops or cocoa puffs I wonder what's the real culprit here - the milk or the cereal. And by the way, eating sugar does NOT cause diabetes - that's a myth! Being overweight is a risk factor for Type II diabetes, but it doesn't matter if the weight problem comes from eating too much sugar, too much fat, or a sedentary lifestyle. Report
I have to agree, what the child is not getting will not be missed in terms of sugary sweets. My son is a healthy 7yo who grew up eating more fruits and veggies then anything. Today he loves broccoli, multi grian bread, and can not stomach the sweetness of cakes and candy. Many consider him odd, and I find it funny to find out what they actually consider normal, since sweets and highly processed foods are not something ingrained into our systems for 100's of years.

My son has a friend that is the oposite. He has eaten nothing but junk food his entire life and at teh age of 7 he weighs well over 100 lbs. He screams if a vegitable touches his plate and will chug a 2liter of soda if allowed. I have started taking care of him and it has been a struggle to get him to drink water, and eat better but slowly it is working!!
Kids go by what they see and what examples they are given. Even though I struggle with my weight I have set a course determined to show my son how to be healthy, and i"m dragging his friend along with me. I always feel like I won a small victory when they ask for ice cold water and an apple after school instead of cookies, candy, and coke.

I say take out the chocolate milk and replace it with bottles of water, if available you would be suprised how many kids will take the water..and how many kids do not drink enough of it! Report
Chocolate milk should not be fed to children in schools, because the school lunch program should be modeling healthy behavior. Also, for children that need it, that have to rely on the school lunch program, healthy food is essential for their growth, their academic advancement, and to help prevent illnesses by strengthening their immune system. Report
I don't have a problem with chocolate milk in schools or elsewhere! What I always did in school was split it with a friend who got white skim milk. When you do 1/2 and 1/2, it way less thick and sugary. To this day, if I buy chocolate milk, I do either 1/2 and 1/2 or only a quarter of the chocolate.

Everything in moderation. If you don't like white milk and maybe you need more carbs, go for it! But I grew up drinking it and never had a weight problem. My generation played outside and walked everywhere. Times have changed. Report
I don't think the schools should limit chocolate milk, but they should add the option for soy milk. Many children are lactose intolerant, and not having a non-dairy, healthy drink available makes it hard. Report
I'm not a fan of the taste of milk and I have never liked chocolate milk, not even as a kid so having the choice didn't matter to me. I do remember it was an ocassional treat in grade school. I'd like to see schools go back to it as a "special treat" and not an everyday item. I think it's hard to justify the benefit of the calcium vs the sugar content. Report
My 5 year old son WILL NOT drink white milk. He had soy milk as a baby and would not drink white milk when he grew out of needing the soy milk. He hates it. I mean despises it so much it makes him gag. If they didnt offer him the chocolate milk what would he drink? Pop? Fruit juices? I will stick with the chocolate milk thank you.
I disagree with what they feed these children in schools and are selling the junk food right infront of them all the time. They can serve healthy meals and not this crap. Report
When I was in school - grade school, at least - there were NO vending machines in the school. None! And you got a choice of beverage at lunch - white milk or water out of the fountain. THAT'S IT! No chocolate. No strawberry. No soda. No juice. White milk or water. And we drank the white milk because that's what we got.

Kids are eating far too much crap in school. I know I did when I was in school because what they fed then is almost exactly what they feed today. Processed, pre-cooked, chemical-filled, cheap CRAP. And then we wonder why diagnosis of ADHD and similar "disorders" is skyrocketing along with behavioral problems in schools - how could you NOT act like you have ADHD with that amount of sugar and chemicals being pumped into your system?

I'm all for Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" to get fresh, healthy food brought into the national school system. Until that happens, the least we can do is ditch the chocolate bar in a carton and just give them the same choice I had. White milk or water. Report
I'm a dairy farmer's wife. It is true that white milk is a better choice. Although, flavored milk is better than Mountain Dew or Coke. Each school I know has a soda machine right next to the snack machine filled with Doritos and chips. Milk consumtion has gone up and soda consumtion has gone drastically down since schools began offering flavored milk. It may not be the healthiest choice, but it is so much better than the option...sugar/caffine.
If people truly want to raise their children liking white milk, they have to begin when their kids are young. Offer only white milk at home and then child will begin to enjoy it. People give their children juice at home, soda when they go out to eat and for snacks, then wonder why their child refuses to drink white milk. It's bland! I have 4 children and all like white milk, because it was the only option besides water at meal times here at home. When they get to choose flavored milk, soda or juice, they know it is a snack, not the norm.
Don't blame the milk producers for pushing milk. Farmers are making 1986 prices in a 2010 economy. But, I bet Coca Cola is making quite a bit more.... Is it the milk company or is it the parents? And don't even get me started on Energy drinks for kids. Ugh Report
I come from the era when milk at school was in a glass bottle. I hated white milk when I was young. I would drink chocolate milk. I had never heard of yogurt until I was an adult. Chocolate milk cost more than white milk when I went to school, but if I had the money, I would get it. To this day, I only use milk on cereal and in my coffee and I don't drink chocolate milk any longer, but water. I think more than what the schools have in their lunches, I am concerned that many schools have cut out recess and for some kids. That may be the only time some children have any physical activity. Some go home to plop down and play video games and do not go outside in the winter months. Any child that is physically active and not obese, might need the calcium and nutrients in the milk. What I see is a problem in the homes with sodas, pouched drinks, fast foods instead of a home-cooked meal and I have seen this regardless of the income. For some that were on the free breakfast program when my children were in school, Mom could always be seen with a can of soda and a cigarette, so school is only one aspect of what happens in a child's day. I too have seen so much food dumped into the trash that is put on a tray. I think you have to teach a child nutrition. When I was young, I never heard of all the food allergies that I have heard about now and I do agree that I think diet plays a major part in behavior, but so does physical activity.

This is from one whose lunch cost a quarter and on days when they were having something I really liked, I would save up and go through the line twice and get two lunches. I didn't have a weight problem until I tried to lose weight as an adult and then when I quit the diet, gained back the weight plus some more. Report
I definitely disagree that chocolate milk is not healthy. If a child is getting a healthy balance of nutrients and wants some chocolate (non fat) milk, there's nothing wrong with it: kids need CHO to grow and for brain function. I know I drink a lot of chocolate milk, it's one of the best ways to refuel after a run and it's great for active children as well.
However, maybe they should be considering using reduced sugar chocolate milk: it tastes just as good and, truthfully it is healthier.

But if we're focusing on health and school lunch, don't you think there are much bigger fish to fry? Report
I don't care for the taste of milk either. If I do have chocolate milk (which is rare), I treat it as a desert and always make it home to limit the sugar. I can make mine extra chocolately (at least according to my wife) and still have less sugar & calories (I use skim) than the store bought. I guess with anything, it's ok in moderation, but I'd rather do stuff like that myself, then trust someone else to do it. Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.