3 Reasons to Keep Chocolate Milk in Schools

Got chocolate milk? A popular choice among both children and adults, the beverage is not only yummy but also good for you. All milk, flavored or not, has the same unique combination of essential nutrients. Plain and flavored milk include three out of the four nutrients of concern for kids: calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Check out more reasons why chocolate milk is a good choice:

  • Kids need the nutrients. Milk drinkers meet their needs for calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin A much quicker than non-milk drinkers. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy for children every day.
    • Kids who drink flavored milk consume more nutrients than – yet have a comparable body weight to – children who don’t drink milk.
    • Kids who drink flavored milk are less likely to drink soda or juice, which are empty calories with almost no nutritional value.
  • Kids drink more milk when it’s flavored. Children are more likely to get their three daily servings if flavored milk is an option.
    • In schools, 70 percent of milk kids choose is flavored, low-fat chocolate being the most popular choice.
    • Studies have shown that removing flavored milk from schools results in a dramatic drop in milk consumption, which means these kids miss out on essential nutrients.
  • Added sugar is minimal. There has been worry that flavored milk at school contributes to high intake of added sugars in kids, but research shows that flavored milk only contributes 3 percent of added sugars in kids’ diets.
    • An 8-ounce serving of chocolate milk has 12 grams of naturally occurring lactose (milk sugar), and chocolate milk in schools has only 8-12 grams of added sugar.
    • Dairy companies have worked with schools to reduce the amount of sugar by 38 percent – making nearly all of the chocolate milk served in schools less than 150 calories for an 8-ounce serving. In fact, flavored milk only has 31 more calories than white milk.

So go ahead and enjoy the chocolate milk – and encourage your kids to do the same at school. They’ll get the essential nutrients they need to grow strong and focus well in school.

  1. Murphy MM, Douglass JS, Johnson RK, Spence LA. Drinking flavored or plain milk is positively associated with nutrient intake and is not associated with adverse effects on weight status in US children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Apr;108(4):631-9.
  2. Frary CD, Johnson, RK, Wang MQ. Journal of Adolescent Health 2004;34, 56-63
  3. The impact on student milk consumption and nutrient intakes from eliminating flavored milk inschools. 2009. MilkPEP research conducted by Prime Consulting Group. Presented at the SchoolNutrition Association Annual National Conference, 2010.
  4. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, NHANES (2003-2006), ages 2-18
  5. 2011-2012 Projected School Milk Product Profile, MilkPEP School Channel Survey, conducted by Prime Consulting Group. This is a joint project of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), the National Dairy Council and the School Nutrition Association, conducted July, 2011. Reponses were received from processors who collectively serve over 51,000, or 53% of all K-12 public schools.
By Emily Weeks, RDN, LD

Emily is the author of Zen and Spice, a blog dedicated to all the goodness that food can be. She loves working with like-minded food brands and organizations on recipe development, nutrition communications and more. When she isn't in her kitchen or blogging, she teaches cooking classes and spends time with her young daughter. Learn more about Emily.

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