- banning chocolate milk isn’t the real issue
- banning chocolate milk teaches us 3 weight-loss lessons
- so many “healthy” drinks are sugar water in sheep’s clothing
Banning chocolate milk in schools is a debate that nutritionists, teachers, parents and kids are all weighing in on.
People are asking:
Isn’t chocolate milk better than no milk?
Why is the school deciding what my child can drink?
Should we ban fun too?
Is banning chocolate milk the real issue?
When it comes to disputes, it’s easy to get lost in the details. The goal we should all be aiming for is:
Raising healthy kids.
Healthy kids become healthy adults.
The purpose of this article is to redirect your energy.
No matter your age or how near or far you are from being a healthy weight, don’t worry! You and your loved ones can get and stay healthy.
Here’s 3 weight-loss lessons we can learn from the Banning Chocolate Milk debate. Each of these lessons took me 10 years to figure out!
Because I was so focused on dieting and losing weight that I lost sight of the big picture. When I f-i-n-a-l-l-y got frustrated and focused on on being healthy instead of thin, I naturally lost weight.
Banning chocolate milk lesson #1: Moderation
For 10 years I took an all-or-nothing approach to weight loss. All my restrictions made me hungry which would lead to overeating and weight gain. Blacklisting food also makes you want it more!
Now I know incorporating the occasional sweet, like chocolate milk, curbs cravings. At a birthday I’ll enjoy a piece of cake and at a friend’s house I’ll eat dessert. Most nights I have a few squares of chocolate after dinner.
Moderation stops you from going to extremes. Taking extremes makes you gain weight.
Verdict: Rather than banning chocolate milk, have it once in a while. If your child can’t buy chocolate milk at school as a treat, say, once a week, then let them choose a sweet at home. For instance, you could drop into a corner store on the way home from school each Friday. Make it an end-of-week ritual.
Banning chocolate milk lesson #2: Habits
For the decade I struggled with my weight I blamed myself instead of my method. I was sure weight loss was all about willpower. I kept thinking if I try harder tomorrow will be different. But people who are a healthy weight aren’t walking around denying themselves food they want to eat! Weight-loss isn’t about discipline.
Now I know that most of our choices are actually habits. We can get into the habit of eating a balanced breakfast as easily as we can get in the habit of eating 3 donuts for breakfast.
People who are a healthy weight and have a healthy relationship with food prefer white milk to sugary chocolate milk.
Verdict: Banning chocolate milk is unnecessary when you make healthier choices a habit.
Banning chocolate milk lesson #3: Healthy alternatives
18 years ago I got healthy when I stopped focusing on calories and began to eat natural food.
Processed food, including low-fat processed food, is packed with artificial ingredients that confuse your body and make you feel hungry.
Zero calorie pop wreaks havoc in your body!
The closer a food is to it’s natural state the more your body recognizes the energy and nutrients. Then you fill up naturally and naturally reach and maintain a healthy weight. Your body knows what to do with natural protein, natural fat, natural carbohydrates and so on. Whereas these artificial ingredients that I found listed on the back of a low-fat salad dressing:
- acetylated monoglycerides
- potassium sorbate
- calcium disodium edta
are foreign to your body.
Vitamin water, energy drinks, diet pop, regular pop, ice tea, juice, yes juice, and chocolate milk… are packed with artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and sugar.
And sugar is more addictive than cocaine!
Why sugary food makes you gain weight
When you eat sugary food you get a sugar rush. (Your blood sugar spikes.)
In order to deal with all the extra sugar your body stores it.
With all that sugar out of your system you have a sugar crash.
This crash leaves you feeling hungry and craving more sugar.
…Then the fat-storage cycle continues.
Stay away from sugary drinks and artificially sweetened drinks! Sweet drinks train you to crave sugary foods that promote weight gain. Even worse, artificial sweeteners increase your appetite and slow down your metabolism.
It’s worth re-reading that last sentence.
Natural is always the healthiest option and the healthiest option helps you lose weight.
There’s not too many healthy alternatives. [Please list your favourite natural drinks that are NOT sweet (as you don’t want to get in the habit of drinking sugary-tasting drinks) in the comment section below.]
Sweet water is everywhere. Most corner stores, grocery stores and even pharmacies have a wall of sugary drinks to choose from.
Some healthy alternatives include:
And the following beverages in moderation:
- whole milk (3.25%)
You can dress your water up by adding cucumber, mint leaves or peach slices.
Truth be told, I never make time to do anything fancy with my water. I just fill up my glass from the kitchen tap. However, the other day I threw in some spearmint leaves and peach slices and it was a refreshing change.
Please note: Mint is easy to grow but spreads like crazy. Keep it contained in a pot!
Rip the leaves to release the flavour.
Try to steer away from more acidic choices, like lemon, as they’re harsh on your teeth.
Verdict: Instead of banning chocolate milk get in the habit of drinking a healthy alternative.
Banning chocolate milk can be as effective as the smoking ban
Whether your school is banning chocolate milk or not, here’s a few final thoughts.
We’ve looked at the big picture, how to get and stay healthy. Now let’s go back to the start and consider the Banning Chocolate Milk debate.
Banning chocolate milk at your child’s school isn’t about your parenting or your specific child. Banning chocolate milk is about what’s best for the greater good. Too many parents really don’t mind what their children eat. Don’t take banning chocolate milk personally! It’s just a way to help steer kids, who could end up choosing chocolate milk for lunch every single day, toward healthier alternatives.
Did you know one cup of chocolate milk contains 26 grams of sugar?
The American Heart Association recommends that the maximum amount of added sugars you have each day are:
Children between 2 and 18 years old: 25 grams
Women: 25 grams
Men: 37.5 grams
So if one cup of milk has 12 grams of natural sugar, then chocolate milk has 12 grams of natural sugar plus 14 grams of added sugar (= 26 grams of sugar total). 14 grams of added sugar is more than half the daily maximum for women and children!
Keep in mind, fat from a natural source like milk, is healthy. Fat from chocolate is processed fat. So when you’re looking at 2% milk and the healthier option, 3.25% milk, focus on the sugar content. NOT the natural fat content.
Banning chocolate milk is similar to having pop machines removed from schools. Then the option no longer exists. Consider this encouraging statistic that was collected since smoking was banned from pubs:
There are fewer young people taking up smoking. The numbers have halved since the introduction of the ban.
-Source NHS Digital
When things are harder to get, it’s easier to stop doing them!
Make Today Count
Don’t wait until tomorrow to stop drinking a dessert during your meal (!)
The healthy choices you make today will be easier to make tomorrow.
Try to have one less sugary drink each day or each week, depending on how many you consume. Break unhealthy habits.
Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.
Are you ready to turn your present choices into healthy habits? Sign up for my newsletter below and you’ll receive one of the best strategies I learned. It helped me lose weight and keep it off for the last 18 years.
The Banning Chocolate Milk debate.
The optimistic attitude these students exude is the result of adults working together toward the real issue, raising healthy kids. The teachers, school administrators, nutritionists, government and parents have united in banning chocolate milk for the greater good. But more importantly, they’ve helped young people understand why getting in the habit of consuming natural food, will help them be healthier and happier.
Education makes all the difference. I love prevention!
What’s your favourite natural drink?
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it