Flavored milk is an important part of school nutrition programs and can help children meet important nutrient needs that support growth and development. Here are five reasons you should “raise your hand” and support flavored milk in schools.
Kids Love the Taste
Milk provides nutrients essential for good health and kids will drink more when it’s flavored. Flavored milk is the most popular milk choice among school children and accounts for 66 percent, of all milk sold in schools according to a report based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Studies I and III.
Nine Essential Nutrients
Flavored milk provides the same nine essential nutrients as unflavored milk. These include calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin. In addition, flavored milk drinkers have lower intakes of soft drinks compared to those who do not drink flavored milk according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Helps Kids Achieve Three Servings
Drinking low-fat or fat-free white or flavored milk helps kids get the three daily servings of milk recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which acknowledges milk and dairy foods’ contribution to bone health and improvement of diet quality. It also provides three of the five “nutrients of concern” that children do not get enough of — calcium, potassium and magnesium as well as vitamin D.
Better Diet Quality
Children who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs and do not consume more added sugar, fat or calories. In addition, they are not heavier than non-milk drinkers and, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, do not have higher total fat or calorie intakes than non-milk drinkers. The American Heart Association states that “when sugars are added to otherwise nutrient-rich foods, such as sugar-sweetened dairy products like flavored milk and yogurt and sugar-sweetened cereals, the quality of children’s and adolescents’ diets improves, and in the case of flavored milks, no adverse effects on weight status were found.”
Top Choice in Schools
Low-fat flavored milk is the most popular milk choice in schools and, if taken away, kids will drink less and therefore get fewer nutrients. Removing flavored milk from schools has been shown to result in a 62-63 percent reduction in milk consumption by kids in kindergarten through fifth grade; a 50 percent reduction in milk consumption by adolescents in sixth through eighth grades; and a 37 percent reduction in milk consumption in adolescents in ninth through 12th grades, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Raise your Hand for Flavored Milk
Health professionals support the intake of flavored milk and it is a healthful, nutrient-rich product for schools and wellness policies. Flavored milk is also the most popular milk choice among school children and, since most of the flavored milk consumed in schools is low-fat or fat-free, its presence in schools may be helping children transition to consuming lower fat milk. Research shows that children who drink flavored milk can increase milk and nutrient intake without increasing added sugar or total fat intake and without adversely affecting BMI, a measure of weight status. When used in moderation and with concern for overall caloric balance, sugars can increase the appeal of nutrient-rich foods and provide additional choices for children to meet nutritional needs in the context of a healthful diet. To raise your hand for flavored milk in schools, click here!