DOE’s ban on chocolate milk will not help children be more healthy

U.S.+Department+of+Agriculture+%7C+Flickr

U.S. Department of Agriculture | Flickr

Amanda Salazar

‘MOOve’ on DOE , don’t ban the chocolate milk

New York City’s Department of Education is looking to ban chocolate milk from all public schools, with Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ support.

The goal is to make school meals healthier for students, as they are reportedly consuming three times the amount of sugar they should be on a daily basis, according to the American Heart Association, Today reports.

However, good intentions aren’t always enough to decide whether the ban is worth it. 

New York City’s Department of Education is looking to ban chocolate milk from all public schools, with Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ support.

The goal is to make school meals healthier for students, as they are reportedly consuming three times the amount of sugar they should be on a daily basis, according to the American Heart Association, Today reports.

However, good intentions aren’t always enough to decide whether the ban is worth it. Chocolate milk has been a public-school meal staple for years and banning it would only make schools’ bland and repetitive lunches even more underwhelming.The purpose of the ban would be to reduce sugar intake, but it would also unintentionally reduce children’s milk consumption, which isn’t beneficial.

It is likely that this prohibition on flavored milk would just mean that less children are drinking milk, period, as many of them prefer chocolate milk to regular, according to an article published in Today. Though it is true that chocolate milk has more calories and grams of sugar than regular milk, public schools already serve only low-fat and nonfat milk as it is, so it’s not like any of the milk options available to students are extremely unheathy. 

“Over two-thirds of milk served in school is flavored, which represents an essential way that kids get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development,” Representative Anthony Brindisi of Utica and some of his fellow Congressmembers wrote in a letter written to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Post reported. Other cities in the country, such as Los Angeles and Detroit, had voted to ban flavored milk, but since then repealed the ban and brought the milk back into schools, according to Today.

While the prospect of banning the delicious drink has children, parents and dairy farmers up in arms, the idea of making children healthier is an advantageous goal.

However, there are many other ways to achieve this other than completely getting rid of chocolate milk. The Department of Education can instead regulate the amount of chocolate milk that is available to students. Instead of serving it during both breakfast and lunch, it can only be put out during lunchtime, so students don’t have the opportunity to drink it twice in a school day.

Another way to handle it is by only serving chocolate milk every other day, so that children still get the chance to have it, but it’s more of a treat. This could allow for other drinks, such as plain milk and water, to become more prominent in students’ meals.

To improve the overall nutrition of public-school meals, Carranza can expand the Meatless Mondays program to also be every other day, which would lower children’s meat consumption and in turn benefit their health.

It is admirable that the city wants to help improve the health of its students, but it has to do so in a way that’s not going to put itself at odds with families and make children unhappy.