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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Flavored Milk over Soda Any Day

Flipping the bad rap of flavored milk.

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Flavored milk.As a mom of two young boys who can sometimes be picky, milk is something I won’t let them skip out on. Milk is packed with essential nutrients to help kids grow into strong healthy adults. Both white and flavored milks are excellent sources of nine essential nutrients calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorus, protein, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and niacin.

Today, many kids are falling short of important nutrients, and studies show kids are not drinking as much milk. Flavored milk has been a solution to increasing children’s milk consumption and data shows that children choose flavored milk 70 percent of the time at school. Flavored milk often gets a bad reputation due to the added sugars it contains. Some schools are even trying to remove flavored milk from their tray lines all together in an effort to reduce consumption of unhealthy drinks.

Research has shown that when flavored milk is taken away, many students will not drink milk at all. As children move into adolescence, milk intake decreases while their soft drink consumption doubles. With a drop in milk consumption in children’s diets, this leaves a nutrient gap that they have to make up for with a combination of foods. If they are doing this with the food served in the cafeteria this means more calories, bigger portions, higher intake of sugary sodas and more fat than what you would get from an 8 oz carton of chocolate milk. Is the trade off really beneficial?

Since milk is the top source of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and potassium in American’s diets, taking chocolate milk away would be devastating. Recently, Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP)—you know, the milk mustache people—announced that flavored milk cartons will contain fewer than 150 calories and 22 grams of sugar. This will only be 31 more calories than white milk. This is great news for us moms out there since milk is so important for our children’s development. I would much rather my children choose flavored milk over soda any day. The small amount of added sugar is definitely an acceptable trade-off in my book for the nutrients provided in a glass of chocolate milk!

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Tags: Hydration , Nutrition , Protein

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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