There’s a huge debate over flavored milk vs white milk in our childrens’ schools. I’ve been following Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution ever since ABC started airing their work on Friday nights (so excited for this week’s episode!). This season Jamie’s in Los Angeles, and he’s having a tough time. The Los Angeles USD isn’t letting him near their food–he’s not even allowed to ask the students what they ate for lunch. And yet, he still finds ways to influence others and spread his message, taking any loop hole and round-about he can find.
One of his biggest campaigns this season (so far) has been to get chocolate- and other flavored-milks out of the cafeteria. Just one cup of chocolate milk has 20g of sugar, compared to the 14g in regular white milk (to clarify: if a cup is 8oz, almost 1oz of that is sugar). This is a problem, yes?
However, I cannot help but think of the benefits of milk. Time magazine put out an article today to argue that chocolate milk is better than no milk at all. Apparently, without the option of the chocolate, the students are opting out completely. And yes, this is a problem, but is the root of it all the milk? I argue not.
I like chocolate milk, of course, but I only drink it after I run. Fitness Magazine posted an article a while back about the benefits of chocolate milk as a post-workout drink. The carbs and the protein help to replenish what the workout took out. Herein lies the real question: what if we mandate exercise in school? What if gym class were not only required for all age levels, but happened every day? (There are so many benefits to this, I don’t even know where to begin). Then, they could have a chocolate milk-stocked vending machine outside of the locker rooms, and not in the cafeteria. The students could get their craving after class–or whenever they wanted, I guess–but the machine would still be out of the cafeteria. The whole point of moving the machine is convenience. The reason that the kids are going straight for the sugar is because it’s there. If they had to walk a number of steps out of their way to get it, I can guarantee that fewer students would make the effort.