Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk – I Do « BackPrintEmail Friend
Chocolate milk is packed with nine essential nutrients that are important for kids' health.
Over the past couple weeks there has been growing buzz about flavored milk in schools. I am encouraged to see such an interest in reducing childhood obesity, but I'm concerned about the approaches being suggested – like eliminating flavored milk from the school menu. As a registered dietitian, I love plain milk too, but kids don’t get any of milk’s nutrients if chocolate milk is dumped.
Chocolate milk was the #1 after-school beverage choice for my kids and their friends. When my boys were growing up, I experienced firsthand that if chocolate milk was not in the fridge they were more likely to skip drinking milk. Likewise, kids drink less when flavored milk isn’t offered at school, in fact 35% less!
Milk is the #1 food source of three of the four “nutrients of concern” the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says both children and adults need to consume more of – vitamin D, calcium and potassium. Similarly, leading health and nutrition organizations, like the American Dietetic Association and School Nutrition Association, recognize the valuable role that low-fat or fat-free milk, including flavored milk, can play in meeting daily nutrient needs.
Flavored milk accounts for less than 3.5% of added sugar intake in children ages 6-12 and less than 2% in teens. Removing flavored milk hardly moves the needle on added sugar intake but what it does remove is critical nutrients for growth and development. The chocolate milk products served in some schools have been reformulated by the dairy processors. These reformulated products are great-tasting, kid-approved flavored milk that are lower in fat, contain less added sugar and have fewer calories than before.
I think giving students the choice of both plain and chocolate milk so they can get the essential nutrients they need for growth and development is in the best interest of children. What do you think? To show your support of chocolate milk in schools, I encourage you to raise your hand for chocolate milk.
As a licensed registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council, I am part of a 90-year tradition of providing science based, practical nutrition information to educators, health professionals and consumers.
Flavored milks have the same 9 essential nutrients as white milk, and a small amount of added sugar compared to other beverages.
Flavored Milk contributes only 3% of the total added sugars in childrens’ diets, and provides 9 essential nutrients, making it a better choice than many other beverages.
Facts about flavored milk.
Despite some of the high-profile debates over flavored milk, a recent study of 1,000 moms found that more than half (54%) would be opposed to a decision made by their children’s school or school districts to stop offering chocolate milk. The survey found that mothers recognize that the availability of chocolate milk increases milk intake for some children who do not drink white milk.
Milk companies across the U.S. are reformulating flavored milk to lower total calories, and decrease added sugars and fat, while preserving its nutritional value and taste appeal.
Some schools have made the decision to remove chocolate and other flavored milks from the cafeteria. Even though these bans have been well intentioned, they have done more nutritional harm than good. Lowfat chocolate milk is the most popular milk choice in schools and kids drink less milk – and get fewer essential nutrients – if it’s taken away.