Flavored milk helps give kids nutrients they often lack
It's a benefit that experts say helps kids choose milk more often and drink more of it.
Every day after school, 10-year-old Andrew Leitch has a glass of milk, but his little sister Katherine is not a big fan.
Andrew Leitch, student says, "I usually get a glass of milk, but Katherine doesn't like it as much."
That is something experts say can be a problem. Skipping milk altogether deprives kids of the nutrients they need during critical bone growing years, and most children become deficient in calcium and vitamin D by the time they're six years old.
But, Katherine does like chocolate milk, which contains the same nine essential nutrients as white milk.
Karen Bakies, RD, LD, with the American Dairy Association says, "It tastes great. They enjoy drinking the milk, and then they're going to get all of the nutritional value that's going to follow."
It's a benefit that experts say helps kids choose milk more often and drink more of it. In fact, in schools that removed flavored options, about 37 percent of students didn't drink milk at all.
Bakies says, "What we would like to see is kids drinking the milk and not throwing it into the trash cans. So by offering the flavors, by offering choice, kids are more likely to drink the milk they're served."
Karen Bakies is a registered dietician with the American Dairy Association. She says the small amount of added sugar in flavored milk is well worth the nutritional tradeoff.
And although parents should monitor their children's sugar intake flavored milk only contributes about four percent of added sugar to kids' diets.
Bakies says, "That's very small if you compare that to the 46% that they might get if they choose a sugar-sweetened beverage such as a soda or an energy drink or a fruit drink instead."
And because it's more nutritious than other options, schools not only choose to serve it in their lunchrooms, but also on the sidelines to student athletes.
Bakies says, "It has fluids so it's going to to help to rehydrate them. It has a perfect mix of carbohydrates and protein to help refuel them, and then the vitamins and minerals are going to build strong bodies and strong bones."
But even if your child isn't training on the field every day, for a lot of kids, its a tastier way to get the nutrition they need.
The proven benefits of flavored milk has prompted the high school athletic associations in some communities across the country to adopt chocolate milk as the official beverage for their student athletes.