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

Less sugar than you think.

Contribution of Added Sugar

Flavored milk in schools contributes very little added sugar to kids’ diets (6 grams, or about 4%), yet provides thirteen essential nutrients – compared to soda and fruit drinks that contribute lots of added sugar (45%) for little to no nutritional value.

Research has also shown that the tiny amount of added sugar in flavored milk does not affect behavior or contribute to hyperactivity in kids.2,3

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).4
  • Milk’s unique nutrient package can be difficult to replace in a healthy eating pattern,5 so options that promote milk consumption could help close students’ nutrient gap.6
  • 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.

Click the top right playlist button for the full list of videos.

We can help.


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. 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.
3. Bellisle F. Effects of diet on behaviour and cognition in children. Br J Nutr. 2004;92(Suppl 2):S227-32.
4. National Dairy Council and School Nutrition Association. The School Milk Pilot Test. Beverage Marketing Corporation for National Dairy Council and School Nutrition Association. 2002.
5. Fulgoni III et al. Nutr Res 2011;31:759-65
6. 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.

Read More