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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

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

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Back to School Special : Got Milk?

A young boy drinking chocolate milkAs your kids go back to school this fall, do you ever wonder what they are eating or what foods are being offered to them for breakfast and lunch?  Some of you may know that the schools have begun implementing changes to their menus according to the new governmental guidelines. What our children eat will not only affect how they learn and grow, but also how they perform in other activities.  Therefore, these food guidelines were set in place to ensure better health and nutrition for our children. Check out how the school lunch menus have changed.

At your child’s school, you may notice the following changes to the menu:


They are also considering kids dairy and milk consumption by offering different milk options, which is another important focal point in the dietary guidelines for children.

In the U.S., our children’s overall milk intake is far below the current recommendations and has declined significantly in the past three years. Milk is packed with 9 essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, which are all “nutrients of concern” according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. When kids skip milk at lunch, meeting these daily nutrient recommendations becomes nearly impossible.  One solution to this may be to offer more of the milk that kids love, like chocolate milk. 

Flavored milk has been slimmed down in recent years. In fact, the average calories in school flavored milk has declined by more than 21% over the past five years and sugars have been cut dramatically by 40%. On average, school flavored milk now has 132 calories per serving.

What does the research say?

  • Research suggests that those who drink flavored milk have more nutritious diets without consuming more added sugars than non-milk drinkers. 
  • Studies show flavored milk contributes to just 3% of added sugars to kids’ diets, compared to the almost 50% added sugar from sodas and fruit drinks which also provide fewer nutrients.

Keeping in mind the new food and menu guidelines, many milk processors have been working diligently to lower the calories and sugar of flavored milks while still providing the taste that kids love as well as the nutrients they need. One way to incorporate enough milk into everyone’s diet is by encouraging one cup of low-fat or fat-free milk at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So, did your kids get their dairy today?  For more info on milk in schools, visit www.milkatschools.com



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Tags: Nutrition

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About the Author


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