PORTLAND, Ore. (CBS Seattle) – According to a recent study, removing chocolate milk from school lunch menus lowers overall milk consumption.
Researchers from the Cornell Center for Behavior Economics in Child Nutrition Programs analyzed data from 11 Oregon elementary schools where chocolate milk was banned from the cafeterias and replaced with skim milk.
The researchers found that almost 30 percent of the skim milked was wasted. This switch led to students consuming less sugar and calories, but they also had less protein and calcium.
“Given that the role of the federal school meal program is to provide nutritious meals to student who may otherwise have no access to healthy foods – I wouldn’t recommend banning flavored mil unless you have a comprehensive plan in place to compensate for the lost nutrients when kids stop drinking milk altogether,” Nicole Zammit, former Assistance Director of Nutrition Services at Eugene School District, said in a press release.
“There are other ways to encourage kids to select white milk without banning the chocolate,” Brian Wansink, Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, and co-author of the study, recommended in a statement. “Make white milk appear more convenient and more normal to select. Two quick and easy solutions are: Put the white milk in the front of the cooler and make sure that at least 1/3 to ½ of all the milk is white.”
The study was published in PLOS ONE.