Chocolate milk returns to Lebanon schools

2012-10-20T07:30:00Z Chocolate milk returns to Lebanon schoolsBy Jennifer Moody, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald

LEBANON — Lebanon schools will soon be offering chocolate milk again at mealtimes.

The district chose to eliminate flavored milk from its menus this year as part of its overall change to comply with federal school-lunch regulations. The regulations don’t ban flavored milk but do tighten restrictions this year on calories and portion sizes and require more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

But members of the Lebanon School Board on Thursday agreed with concerns brought by two parents of students at Cascades Elementary School, and asked district officials to bring chocolate milk back to the cafeteria.

“My kids won’t touch milk unless it’s chocolate,” Chairman Russ McUne said.

Julie Holden and Roxanne Savedra say that’s the case for their kids, too. They brought research touting chocolate milk’s nutritional value, and data showing that regular milk served at Cascades is being wasted by the gallon.

Savedra marked a five-gallon bucket in one-inch increments. For a little over a month, she measured the amount of regular milk tossed by students during lunch.

“We dump an average 11.66 gallons of milk every day, and that’s just lunch. I don’t track breakfast,” she said.

The count came to 186 cartons of milk, compared with the average 260 children who eat a cafeteria lunch, Savedra went on. “That’s 71, almost 72 percent of the cartons that are just thrown away and not drank.”

In contrast, when flavored milk was being served last year, Savedra said, roughly one five-gallon bucket of milk got dumped after each lunch period.

According to district figures, more children were eating cafeteria lunches last year, too: 44,544 lunches were served last September compared with 36,971 this September, said Pam Lessley, the district’s director of nutrition services.

The figures were part of Lessley’s overall report Thursday on the district’s compliance with the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which took effect this year and revamped public school lunches nationwide.

Like other districts, Lebanon has found itself battling higher costs, particularly for produce; complicated meal plans that can’t be tailored to fit older or hungrier kids; and picky diners who turn up their noses at items such as corn dogs wrapped in whole-grain breading.

Lessley said she thinks young customers will soon be coming back, once they’re used to the new routine, and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture likely will tweak some of the guidelines in light of the outcry from various states.

Some Lebanon schools already bring uneaten breakfast offerings around to classrooms later in the day for any extra-hungry kids. The district will expand this practice to all schools, explore the idea of offering extra salad bar trips to kids who have cleaned their plates — and bring back chocolate milk.

“I’m really pleased with that,” Holden said.

Jennifer Moody is the education reporter for the Democrat-Herald. She can be reached at 541-6113 or

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. LuvChef
    Report Abuse
    LuvChef - October 23, 2012 7:44 am
    What you don't seem to understand Ajax, is that the only nutrition that some of our kids get is at school. Milk is the most dense nutrition we can provide. It is NOT liquid candy. The chocolate milk has been made to fit into the guidelines of the USDA. Most, if not all, FAT FREE Chocolate milks served in schools have between 26 & 28 grams of "sugar". Half of that sugar is not added to the is the natural sugar lactose. I would much rather my kid have an extra tablespoon of sugar a day than not get the nutrition they receive in a cup of milk. The food that our kids would need to eat, in order to replace the nutrition they get in the fat-free chocolate milk you want to get rid of...adds 5 times as much sugar and twice the amount of fat they would get from the milk. It is not the fat-free chocolate milk that's making our kids fat.
  2. Ajax
    Report Abuse
    Ajax - October 20, 2012 11:39 am
    So, since the kids don't like regular milk, bring back the chocolate. Logic and the latest nutritional information on obesity mean nothing.... Give the kids what they want, seems to be the attitude that rules the day.. Good parenting seems to be a thing of the past..

    These kids would be better off with no milk at all, than the sugar laden chocolate milk.. Sure, there are still some vitamins in it but for the most part, its just liquid candy.
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