Chocolate milk back on LAUSD menus despite some parental concerns

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Chocolate milk back on LAUSD menus despite concerns
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Chocolate milk consumption has the potential to increase on average 4,332 gallons per week, which equates to nearly 12.5 million cartons of milk annually.

GRANADA HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District made some students very happy - after six years, fat free chocolate milk returned to the cafeteria.

"Every day they're like, 'Mom, we ate lunch today' because of the chocolate milk," parent Denise Hernandez said.

Some parents are in favor of the cartons coming back as their kids were not only drinking the milk, but eating their lunches.

Patrick Henry Middle School has experienced a 36 percent increase in meal participation, which averages about 150 more students eating at lunch.

LAUSD is using guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, which claims it is acceptable to have flavored milks up to 22 grams of sugar - that's roughly five teaspoons.

But keep in mind three of the teaspoons naturally occur in milk.

While some parents are concerned about the amount of sugar, Maria Fisk, a dietitian and diabetes educator at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, posed a question.

"Would you rather see the kids throwing the milk in the trash, not drinking it at all, not having that opportunity, which is what they were doing," she said.

Fisk also pointed out the benefits of these children consuming the milk far outweigh the two teaspoons of sugar.

"Protein, calcium, vitamin D and if it comes with 2 teaspoons of extra sugar that can be considered and worked in," she said.

LAUSD executed a pilot program in December by serving chocolate milk to study how to get more kids to drink milk and reduce waste.

They found that milk consumption has the potential to increase, on average, 4,332 gallons per week.

"Districtwide that increase, equates to nearly 12.5 million cartons of milk - consumed by students instead of wasted - annually," the district said.

LAUSD said chocolate milk is now being served in all their schools except the Early Education Centers.