Between sports practice, music lessons, homework and carpools it can be difficult for busy moms to ensure their kids are eating balanced meals. Since 2011, MyPlate has served as an easy-to-follow guide for creating nutrient-rich meals that fuel healthy lifestyles. However, as any mom knows, a balanced meal doesn’t do any good unless kids want to consume it. The great news is recent research shows that the longtime kid favorite, flavored milk, fits perfectly into the MyPlate lifestyle.
A 2018 Ethnifacts study, sponsored by Dairy MAX in partnership with Children at Risk,1 surveyed over 800 parents regarding their children’s eating and drinking habits regarding MyPlate guidelines. The survey represented over 1,300 students ranging in age from pre-K to 12th grade.
Among children meeting MyPlate guidelines, 60% drank flavored milk frequently. Furthermore, children who drank flavored milk frequently to meet the dairy component of MyPlate guidelines were reported by their parents as having a healthier overall diet than children who did not: 66% of frequent flavored milk drinkers were reported to be in excellent or very good health whereas only 49% of non-frequent flavored milk drinkers were reported to be in excellent or very good health.
According to the study, other areas of nutrition and physical activity were affected by flavored milk, too. Of the children who drank flavored milk frequently, 86% ate their suggested amount of fruit daily versus only 73% of non-frequent flavored milk drinkers. The gap with vegetable consumption was even larger: of children who drank flavored milk frequently, 70% ate the suggested amount of vegetables daily versus only 54% of non-frequent flavored milk drinkers. Parents also reported higher rates of daily exercise among children who drank flavored milk regularly versus those that did not (56% versus 47%).
So, what do all these numbers mean? Flavored milk is a tasty and easy way to meet the dairy piece of MyPlate, while also having positive impacts on other eating habits and an overall healthy lifestyle. Kids like the taste, and as a mom you can feel confident in its nutritional value: flavored milk provides the same essential nutrients as white milk and only contributes about 4% of added sugars to a child’s diet. Additionally, the flavored milk kids drink in school has less sugar than the average flavored milk sold in stores and only about 122 calories.
So, whether it’s around the dinner table, on the go or at school, you can be confident in allowing your kids to drink fat-free or low-fat flavored milk. It’s a kid-tested and mom-approved way to meet MyPlate guidelines and fuel a healthy lifestyle. Now that’s something to raise a glass to!
1 Dairy MAX and Children at Risk. Health & Wellness Exploratory Study: Houston ISD Parents’ Attitudes and Behaviors. 2019. Accessed July 23, 2019.