Flavored Milk

Flavored milk is a crucial part of school nutrition. How do we know? Because schools that offer it see increased lunch participation, and kids who drink it have better overall diets. Plus, flavored milk in schools has less sugar than flavored milk in grocery stores.

Get schooled on the flavored milk facts.

Kids need the nutrients in milk.

Milk is the number one source for three of the four nutrients of concern that kids are lacking – calcium, vitamin D and potassium – according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Drinking flavored milk can help children meet the recommendation for three daily servings of dairy foods while providing key nutrients necessary for growth and development. Additionally, kids who drink flavored milk consume more of these nutrients of concern compared to non-flavored milk drinkers.1

Three 8-ounce servings of milk, flavored or not, gives kids as much…

  • Protein as four large hardboiled eggs
  • Calcium as 38 cups of raw kale
  • Vitamin D as a 6.5 oz can of sardines (approx. 15 sardines)
  • Vitamin A as approx. 1.8 cups of fortified cereal
  • Phosphorus as approx. 3 cups of cooked red kidney beans
  • Riboflavin as 0.8 cups of whole almonds

Kids drink less milk when they can’t get flavored.

national study showed that when you remove flavored milk from elementary schools, kids drink 35% less milk – and that number did not rebound over time. A similar study in Canada showed that overall milk consumption decreased by 48% in a four-week period.

Less sugar than you think.

School flavored milk contributes just 4% of added sugar – along with the same nine essential nutrients as white milk – to kids’ diets.

On average, each carton or serving of flavored milk a child drinks at school has only 6 grams of added sugar and 120 calories.

Carbonated soda and fruit drinks contribute 45% of added sugar and little to no nutrients to kids’ diets.

While flavored milk contributes, on average, only 0.7 teaspoons of added sugar in kids’ diets each day,2 research has also shown that this sugar does not affect behavior or contribute to hyperactivity in kids.3,4

Flavored milk drinkers are just as likely to maintain a healthy weight as other kids.

Children who drink flavored milk drink more milk overall, have better quality diets, do not have higher intakes of added sugar or fat, and are just as likely to be at a healthy weight when compared with kids who do not drink flavored milk.1

1% Flavored Milk  

If you planned to serve 1% flavored milk this school year, you still can.

Meal pattern flexibility waivers due to COVID-19 allow schools to continue serving 1% flavored milk for the 2020-2021 school year. In some states this may require filling out an application. Check your local state agency website for more information or contact your Dairy MAX School Wellness Consultant for support.

Why continue to serve 1% flavored milk?

  • Improving students’ overall milk experience through additional options, merchandising and more has been shown to increase average daily participation (ADP).5
  • Milk’s unique nutrient package can be difficult to replace in a healthy eating pattern,6 so options that promote milk consumption could help close students’ nutrient gap.7
  • School milk consumption may increase. Serving 1% flavored milk could reverse the decline in milk consumption observed by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service during lunch among elementary, middle and high school National School Lunch Program participants.

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References

1. Cifelli C, Houchins J, Demmer E, Fuloni IIIV.The Relationship Between Flavored Milk Consumption, Diet Quality, BodyWeight, and BMI z-Score Among Children and Adolescents of Different Ethnicities. FASEB J. April 2016 30:1154.12.
2. National Dairy Council (Nutrition Impact, LLC analysis. Ages 2+ years, NHANES 2011 -2014). Data Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Food Surveys Research Group (Beltsville, MD) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (Hyattsville, MD). What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011 -2012, 2013-2014. https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md/beltsville-human-nutrition-research-center/food-surveys-research-group/docs/wweianhanes-overview/
3. Fitch C, Keim KS, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;11  2(5):739-58.
4. Bellisle F. Effects of diet on behaviour and cognition in children. Br J Nutr. 2004;92(Suppl 2):S227-32.
5. National Dairy Council and School Nutrition Association. The School Milk Pilot Test. Beverage Marketing Corporation for National Dairy Council and School Nutrition Association. 2002.
6. Fulgoni III et al. Nutr Res 2011;31:759-65
7. Murphy MM, Douglass JS, Johnson RK, Spence LA. Drinking flavored or plain milk is positively associated with nutrient intake and is not associated with adverse effects on weight status in US children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc 2008;108;631-639.
 

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