Healthier Coffee Options Bring More Dairy to High Schools

What’s All the Buzz?

Today’s high school students can often be found hanging out at their local coffee shop, so why not bring a healthier coffee option to our students? By bringing their favorite beverages to schools, we can encourage students to stay on campus with their friends while offering a tasty and healthier option for them to enjoy. Read on to learn more!

What Are the Health Benefits of Coffee?

While some may have worries about coffee beverages, mainly due to the added ingredients, the coffee bean itself is quite a nutrient powerhouse.

Coffee contains fundamental nutrients, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin. It is also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals, which can help lower the risk of different cancers, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes. 1-5

With that said, drinking coffee just might improve your health!

Milk in Coffee Drinks

Did you know calcium is a nutrient of public health concern, and most youth are not meeting their suggested daily servings of dairy a day. Coffee in schools is one way we can help fill that gap. Milk contains 13 essential nutrients and is one of the main ingredients found in your school’s favorite coffee beverages.6, 7 To promote the best nutrition for our youth, schools make coffee drinks with low-fat or skim milk to provide high schoolers with the calcium they need alongside the flavor they desire.

Is Coffee for Teens Safe?

Coffee definitely can be a part of a healthy diet, but is it safe for our teens? Coffee itself is healthy, but it is important to be mindful of the caffeine content, as well as added sugars often found in coffee beverages. Which our schools are!

As part of the Smart Snacks in School program, the USDA endorses sales of coffee and espresso beverages in high schools up to 12 ounces and under 60 calories.

When comparing coffee drinks to other drinks that contain caffeine, such as soda and energy drinks, there are clear advantages. Antioxidant-rich coffee paired with nutrient-dense milk provides students with a healthful beverage option that is much better than nutrient-poor soda and energy drinks.

What Are the Benefits of Coffee at School?

As a parent, do you ever find yourself cut short on time in the mornings? By eating breakfast at school, you can save valuable time by not needing to make breakfast for your student or adding another stop on the way to school. Eating breakfast can also improve your child’s academic performance and increase graduation rates.

In addition to coffee drinks, school breakfasts offer a balanced tray including protein, whole grains, fruit, and in some cases, even vegetables! So, while your child may be grabbing that cup of coffee at school, rest assured that they are getting the best buzz around.

Let’s face it, if our kids aren’t drinking coffee at school, they are visiting their favorite local coffee shop to get their caffeine fix. Schools have the opportunity to offer them their favorite beverage, prepared in a healthier way with delicious milk, lower caffeine and reduced sugar – all the while still delivering on flavor and presentation!


By Mary Dickson, RDN, LD

Mary is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a background in clinical dietetic work, as well as school nutrition. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2012. When she's not working, Mary enjoys spending time with her family and their Great Dane. Learn more about Mary

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