No More Chocolate Milk at FCPS Elementary Schools
District decides to "walk the talk" on obesity issue
Students at elementary schools throughout Fairfax County Public Schools recently went back to school to new classrooms and old friends.
One of the biggest changes, though was in the lunchroom: FCPS has eliminated chocolate milk sales in elementary school cafeterias.
The banishment of chocolate milk is part a school-system wide initiative to provide healthier foods in the cafeteria. Also out: extra salt on pretzels, as well as other goodies that contain high-fructose corn syrup, such as imitation maple syrup. Goodbye, chicken nuggets; hello chicken tenders. So long to corn dogs, too.
"We decided we had to walk the talk," said Penny McConnell, a registered dietitian and director of food and nutrition services for FCPS. "We want to see what we can do on the whole overweight issue. "
McConnell said the school system has been working with its dairy supplier, Shenandoah Dairy, for more than three years to try and offer a product that eliminated the high-fructose corn syrup in chocolate milk. They were unable to do so, so FCPS instead decided to drop chocolate milk from the menu.
The school system is also aiming to buy more locally grown produce; continue to reduce salt and sugar in menu items; and increase dishes that have dried beans and other fiber-rich ingredients.
McConnell says reaction from parents has been about "50/50" about the chocolate milk.
"Change is always difficult," she said. "But we are asking parents to be our partners (in nutrition). I think it will settle down. We eliminated selling chocolate milk at breakfast three years ago. That went fine."