School Lunch Improvement Effort - Eliminate Chocolate Milk - Please help - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-13-2010, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am x-posting this here and in the healthy eating forums as I hope this community may have some experience on this topic . . .see below:

All -

We have been working for 3 long years on our school's "Wellness Committee" to fix the horrendously awful school lunch being served to our kids on a daily basis -- almost entirely processed reheated foods with an ingredient list a mile long.

We have seen a very recent shift in attitude with the administration - and for some reason the principal unilaterally and without warning decided to remove chocolate milk from the lunch room. This has caused major backlash apparently and the principal is now looking to the Wellness Committee to back her up with some info, studies, data, etc. to support her decision.

While removing chocolate milk may not have been the first thing I would have done - I do like the direction this is moving and want to support her.

Please can you provide me with any info, articles, references - anything that could help us? Thanks you so much in advance!

TripMom . . . . . loving mom : to DS (7) and BBG (4.5)
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:25 AM
 
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Check out Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show - this is exactly what it is about.
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:55 AM
 
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I don't blame parents for being upset over this. If nothing else has been done to improve the overall quality of the lunch then eliminating chocolate milk will most likely lower the nutritional value for many kids. With chocolate milk at least th parents could count on the child drinking something reasonable nutritious that just has a little extra sugar and some chocolate in it. Without it they can't even count on their kids getting the milk (many people just won't drink plain milk at all.)

For parents who pack most of the lunch but have their kids buy milk, this means they have to pack a beverage that will warm by lunch time.

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Old 04-14-2010, 03:04 AM
 
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BTW, here's a thread where we discussed a similar subject several months ago.
http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1180639

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Old 04-14-2010, 03:33 AM
 
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sorry to derail, but OP, please feel free to PM me any info/advice you can share WRT starting your Wellness Committee. i've been trying to do this at our school for 3 yrs. nevermind what changes we may or may not make, i cant even get the principal or PTO prez to take me seriously enough to actually start the committee!

If a child chooses chocolate milk every single day for a year, they'll gain about 3lbs bc of the extra sugar and calories.

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Old 04-14-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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If your committee has been working for three years to move in a positive direction, and now you are facing huge backlash about chocolate milk, I wonder how productive the choice to remove it will be? Is this a done deal? If not, is it the hill you want to die on, so to speak?

My raw cow and goat milk drinking ds loves the chance to get chocolate milk at school! I allow it because in the scheme of things I wouldn't choose this as a food battle. I would rather ADD nutritious options than take away something that has at least some nutritional value. I think that they key is to feel a sense of abundance and well being based on the available food choices-not deprivation, which I'm guessing is how some parents may view this.
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
If your committee has been working for three years to move in a positive direction, and now you are facing huge backlash about chocolate milk, I wonder how productive the choice to remove it will be? Is this a done deal? If not, is it the hill you want to die on, so to speak?

My raw cow and goat milk drinking ds loves the chance to get chocolate milk at school! I allow it because in the scheme of things I wouldn't choose this as a food battle. I would rather ADD nutritious options than take away something that has at least some nutritional value. I think that they key is to feel a sense of abundance and well being based on the available food choices-not deprivation, which I'm guessing is how some parents may view this.
I basically agree . .. . but our principal . . . who has pretty much ignored us for the last couple of years all of a sudden has changed her tune? She did not run this decision by the Wellness Committee -- we didn't even know. Had she discussed it with us we likely would have focused our initial efforts elsewhere . . .. but she unilaterally did this and now is looking to us for back-up. Since this is the first movement we've had in the right direction - it seems imperative that this effort be supported and not rescinded if we want to keep on the path of improving the school lunch.

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Old 04-14-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
sorry to derail, but OP, please feel free to PM me any info/advice you can share WRT starting your Wellness Committee. i've been trying to do this at our school for 3 yrs. nevermind what changes we may or may not make, i cant even get the principal or PTO prez to take me seriously enough to actually start the committee!

If a child chooses chocolate milk every single day for a year, they'll gain about 3lbs bc of the extra sugar and calories.
I am running off to work - but are you aware that all schools receiving federal funding (basically all) are required to establish a wellness policy as of 2006? I believe the Wellness Policy requires that a committee be established and that it meet on a regular basis. Here is some info to get you started -- I believe they MUST assemble the committee per federal law.

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resour...licies2009.pdf

TripMom . . . . . loving mom : to DS (7) and BBG (4.5)
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TripMom View Post
I am running off to work - but are you aware that all schools receiving federal funding (basically all) are required to establish a wellness policy as of 2006? I believe the Wellness Policy requires that a committee be established and that it meet on a regular basis. Here is some info to get you started -- I believe they MUST assemble the committee per federal law.

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resour...licies2009.pdf
great info.

I see the wellness committee as a recommendation of that report, but not a mandate? I also don't see anything there that requires the school to follow its own wellness policy. It might be there, but I only see the recommendation from that center for an evaluation of the policies.

Our district has a wellness policy, our school has a wellness committee. The school also hands out candy left and right, parties with treats frequently, "service learning" through selling sweets at lunch, recess cancelled through convenience, etc.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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Now to actually address the OP's question --

It sounds like the principal made a decision, got backlash, and now is looking to the wellness committee to back her up. How... Odd.

What I've seen that works best in schools is to create "buy in" for the change. You sell it. If you've been working for three years to improve the school lunches, surely you have a wide variety of reasons already on hand to explain why the food served at lunch should be better. It works best when you have buy in from everyone involved -- teachers, kids, and parents. Each need and deserve a little explanation for any sudden, visible change.

You could
*address the teachers on why reducing sugar before the afternoon session will help them (duh...), or provide the principal with this info to take to the faculty.
*provide the teachers with materials (or coming from a politics/sales perspective, "talking points"), and suggest they integrate this into class discussions/activities.
*Draft a note home to parents explaining the goals and the move. Chocolate milk is a visible part of the change, but you are also aiming to improve the health of the kids, give them the best possible nutrition for learning, etc.

I see both sides, honestly. My kid is pathological in her eating, and for kindergarten when she had to eat the school's food, I knew that she was at least getting some protein with her corn solids, thickener, food coloring and whatever other garbage was in her chocolate milk. Had chocolate milk not been an option, I would have had to do something different, but I would have been partly grateful.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TripMom View Post
I am running off to work - but are you aware that all schools receiving federal funding (basically all) are required to establish a wellness policy as of 2006? I believe the Wellness Policy requires that a committee be established and that it meet on a regular basis. Here is some info to get you started -- I believe they MUST assemble the committee per federal law.

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resour...licies2009.pdf


yup, i know they are required to have a wellness policy, and i know the policy commands a committee, but we are a charter school and while our website gives a link to the districts policy, we are not obligated to actually follow it. and if i understand correctly, no one is really enforcing it in the regular district public schools anyway, so if they arent making all the other schools adhere, why would they make our school do it? so our principal and PTO gives lip service and then serves krispy kremes and kool aid for breakfast.

thats why i'm looking for btdt's of ppl who have actually had any measure of success.

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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I basically agree . .. . but our principal . . . who has pretty much ignored us for the last couple of years all of a sudden has changed her tune? She did not run this decision by the Wellness Committee -- we didn't even know. Had she discussed it with us we likely would have focused our initial efforts elsewhere . . .. but she unilaterally did this and now is looking to us for back-up. Since this is the first movement we've had in the right direction - it seems imperative that this effort be supported and not rescinded if we want to keep on the path of improving the school lunch.
Frankly this sounds like the principal is trying to get you guys off her back. It seems to me like a calculated power play.

She picked the easiest thing that one could do in the name of making lunch healthier. It is something that pretty much takes no effort on her part. there is no need to search for higher quality vendors, take bids, alter schedules or set ups, etc.

She chose an item that she knew few parents really objected to and was popular amongst the kids. Basically she chose the item that she knew was most likely to ruffle feathers. Many parents happily put a little chocolate into milk so that their kids will drink it.

Now she is laying it at your feet. If you back her up the health committee becomes the bad guy here. The health committee suddenly becomes responsible for kids not drinking their milk (let's face it many many children just won't drink white milk.) Instead of the kids being healthier they are less healthy b/c frankly the chocolate milk was probably the most nutritious part of the meal that was actually consumed.

If you simply choose to not back her then she can accuse you of not really wanting to make improvements.

Personally I would fight her on this one.

Let's say the lunch didn't have milk choices, but instead only had juice choices. Let's say the options were apple, cranberry and grapefruit. The other things being offered at lunch were over cooked mushy vegetables, scary main course like rubber pizza and the desert which was filled with artificial god only knows what. If the principal takes away the apple juice (b/c it is high in sugar) are the students likely to drink the cranberry or grapefruit juice? Probably not. Will the students eat more of the mushy vegetables? Probably not. Will they try to make up for it by getting an extra helping of the desert? Quite likely yes.

This isn't really a choice between chocolate milk and white milk being consumed, it is a choice between chocolate milk and no milk being consumed. The students are likely to try to make up the emptiness/thrist they feel with thing like extra helpings of the ice cream sandwiches or those frozen "juice" things. By eliminating one of the healthiest items on the menu that actually appeals to kids it just leaves them choosing less healthy option that appeal, it does not convince them to choose the slightly healthier but very unappealing option.

Your aim is to add healthy options the students might actually consume; fresh fruit, vegetables that aren't bland and cooked to mushiness in a microwave, whole grain pastas, stir fries, etc.

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Old 04-15-2010, 07:26 AM
 
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I basically agree . .. . but our principal . . . who has pretty much ignored us for the last couple of years all of a sudden has changed her tune? She did not run this decision by the Wellness Committee -- we didn't even know. Had she discussed it with us we likely would have focused our initial efforts elsewhere . . .. but she unilaterally did this and now is looking to us for back-up. Since this is the first movement we've had in the right direction - it seems imperative that this effort be supported and not rescinded if we want to keep on the path of improving the school lunch.
It doesn't sound like she's changed her tune at all. She didn't even involve your committee in the decision. I would not back her up on this because I think it would do your committee more harm than good. It won't gain you support amongst other parents and the prinicpal went about this the wrong way (in a power trip sort of way).

She hasn't backed up your committee in 3 years and now she expects you to back her unpopular decision? Maybe she's doing it purposely to discredit the Wellness Committee.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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agree with the pp..it doesnt sound like her tune has changed more like she's trying to lay the blunt of her decision by laying it on your committees heads. Being a charter school, folks can enroll their kids or pull them out as desired. I would imagine she is probably getting quite a few threats from parents that their kids will not be returning in the fall. If she had made a less drastic change and eased into this I think parents might be more supportive (some? maybe?) but to just yank it from the menu will cause a knee jerk reaction, and parents who have not had time to think things through can get vicious!

As for the whole milk debate-Well, I think its a parents choice if they want their kids to have it or not. At home my kids only drink white milk/water and very little juice..no soda or kool aid. At school DD drinks only chocolate and DS drinks only strawberry. Do I know what studies show about the sugar/fats etc of school lunches? Sure..am I inclined to tell my kids you can only eat or drink this or that brought from home because its healthy? No.

IMO just because chocolate milk MAY cause a kid to gain 3lbs by the end of the school yr it isn't a reason to say no. Kids NEED to gain weight, my family in particular..we are ALL underweight. We all have high metabolisms and no matter how much food (junk food or not) we pile into our mouths we don't retain weight. So to me the whole argument is a moot point unless you are looking at 2 groups of kids. 1 group living active lifestyles (going outside,running,playing etc) and 1 group who sit in front of the tv/video game system/pc from sun up to sundown. If there is a study that shows that kids from both groups are suffering from obesity from chocolate milk served at school I will gladly change my perspective..but I would personaly be in the group of parents giving this principal an earful at this point.

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Old 04-24-2010, 12:53 AM
 
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the whole 3 lb thing in a year is confusing to me. Is that 3 lb BEYOND the average weight gain? I think my dd has put on 8 lbs and grew 4 inches. That is a good thing, not blamed on choc milk. (ps she is allowed to get choc milk one day/week)
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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theres 3 lbs of healthy-kid-growing weight and then theres 3lbs of fat weight. garbage foods and drinks like these artificially inflate a growing childs weight gain curve. my ds2 is super skinny. if i could put 2 lbs on him with healthy food or 5 lbs of fat from sugary junk foods, i would choose the 2 lbs anyday.

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Old 04-24-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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I'm OK w/chocolate milk as long as it has no corn syrup -- that' s what our school offers, so I'm OK w/it. It's still too sweet so my daughter choses not to drink it.

At home I offer organic choc milk but kids no like it.

I wouldn' t make choc milk elimination a rallying cry -- that will alienate a lot of people. I would be one of them!

Liz

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Old 04-25-2010, 01:09 AM
 
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A few years ago one of our local K-8 schools stopped selling chocolate milk. The kids organized a boycott. They refused to drink any milk at all until the chocolate came back. They were very organized and effective.

Last year my school's cook (she makes all the food decisions herself--luckily she's amazing and makes great choices) stopped offering strawberry milk because it had way more sugar than even the chocolate. But then the milk distributor we use changed their recipe for both flavored milks and now they have no artificial flavoring or colors (the strawberry is colored with beets! ) and they use regular sugar--no corn syrup. The strawberry has no more sugar than the chocolate now. What recipe does your school's milk distributor use? How bad is it? If it has corn syrup and artificial colors, than maybe you should back the principal. But if it has more natural ingredients, or if that is an option, then I think you should keep those milk options for the kids, for the same reasons other people mentioned.

(I'll admit I have a chocolate milk habit myself. I have one every day at the school I teach at.)
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:04 AM
 
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I'm really surprised at all the support chocolate milk gets. Don't get me wrong, I get it as a treat for DS now and again, but it's a treat, not an every day thing.

When I was a kid, we had white cow's milk at lunch and that was the ONLY drink offered. Kids drank it because they were thirsty and it was the only thing offered. By the time I was in high school we had 3 kinds of milk to choose from: whole, 2%, and skim.

I seriously doubt the chocolate milk being offered is high quality, either. It's probably full of corn syrup, artificial flavors, and a little splash of red dye (yep, in "chocolate" milk).

OP, I don't know what the rest of your school lunches look like, but I don't think that pulling chocolate milk is a bad idea. I'd start by getting an ingredient list on that chocolate milk and compare it nutritionally to the plain milk. Maybe a flyer sent home to the parents with the information would help.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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I am going to suggest actually researching the nutritional value of the specific chocolate milk served in your school. Because the chocolate flavoring is going to make a lot of difference.

I don't usually drink white milk at all myself. I dislike the taste. I get some in cereal and will occasionally have some if I happen to have some cookies and milk, but only about 8oz and cookies and milk are rare here, I don't buy or make many cookies. But I really like chocolate milk. To look at what I call chocolate milk though, you wouldn't notice much of a difference. For me, chocolate milk is just barely chocolate. It's JUST enough to notice the taste. We use Hershey syrup, which isn't the best, but the recommended serving is something like 2 TABLESPOONS! That's just WAY WAY too much for me. And chocolate milk sold in the store, pre-mixed, yeah, that's just nasty. BUT, I seem to remember LOVING chocolate milk in school and I don't remember it being as dark or as sweet as what I might see in the grocery store.

So, I would suggest seeing just how unhealthy the chocolate milk is when compared to the white milk. If the difference is minute, well then perhaps educate the principal. If it's substantial, then perhaps support her.

In addition, what did she give for her reasons for eliminating it? It may not have been nurtional but financial. Which wouldn't be something to support, IMO. And, did she offer an alternative? Like perhaps bottled, filtered water?
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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Mostly OT, but I wanted to say as a kid I would NEVER drink the white milk at school. We NEVER had chocolate milk at home, and I didn't mind a bit. (Well, okay, sometimes we would mix our own if there happened to be ice cream syrup around, but it wasn't often.)

It wasn't that I didn't like white milk, it was that the cardboard (or something?) made the milk taste gross. The chocolate covered up the bad taste.

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