Banning Chocolate Milk—We're Missing the Point

Should kids consume less sugar? Yes! Is childhood obesity an epidemic? Yes! Is banning chocolate milk the answer? Not so much.
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My own mother calls me a “food nazi”. A friend once declared me a “food weirdo” after I turned down red-velvet cake because of my desire to steer clear of red food dye. I’m going to keep harping on my dad to give up his white bread habit until he actually does it.

So when Jamie Oliver’s TED talk started circulating and the Food Revolution started I was encouraged. Hell, yes. Let’s teach kids about food! Let’s show parents how quickly a delicious meal, made from whole foods can be prepared! Let’s get those vending machines out of schools!

But now I keep hearing the rally cry to ban chocolate milk in schools and I can’t help but think that we’re missing the point.

Kids eat five meals a week at school, the other sixteen meals of the week (not to mention snacks) fall under the responsibility of mom and dad. It would seem to me that if we’ve got an obesity epidemic on our hands, that the first place we should be looking is where kids get the bulk of their exposure to food. At home.

Baby's first cookie face. I posted this on Facebook back in the day, so my family could see that she DOES get treats.

Baby's first cookie face. I posted this on Facebook back in the day, so my family could see that she DOES get treats.

I know, it’s easier to unite around a shared enemy–the school district, but if we really care about how we’re fueling our kids, we need to take a good long look at our own grocery baskets and lifestyles.

Schools are eliminating recess. The mighty TV, the inviting couch-potato creator, now has the additional competition of computers, smart phones and iPads for your kids’ sedentary attention.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Angry Birds and so help me, my 3 year old taught me some new moves, but we have to be smarter about addressing this issue if we’re going to churn out a generation of healthy kids.

Health, fitness, nutrition are all part of a larger picture—a picture that we as parents have the greatest influence in painting. We can’t keep blaming the school district when the fact is that good eating habits start with the first bites of food we lovingly chop up and put on that highchair tray.

We owe it to our kids to fix this, but eliminating chocolate milk? What is that saying...something about spitting on a forest fire?

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