by: Tara Gidus
Do your kids love a glass of chocolate milk? Flavored milk offered in schools has been getting a makeove. Here are some slimmed down facts.
– As kids go back to school this fall, their school lunches may look entirely different from last year. There will be more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, and school flavored milk will be lower in sugar and calories than ever before.
o Lowfat and fat free white milk, and fat free chocolate milk will continue to be on the menu.
– The nation’s milk processors have been hard at work over the past several years to lower the calories and sugar in school flavored milk, giving kids the taste they love while still maintaining all of its essential nutrients.
o 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%.
o On average, school flavored milk now has 132 calories per serving.
– Overall, kids’ milk intake is far below the current recommendations, and school milk consumption has declined for the third consecutive year, declining by more than 1% in just the last year alone. Giving kids more nutrient-rich choices, like offering the flavored milk they love, could help address this.
o When kids skip milk at lunch, it’s difficult to meet the needs for these vital nutrients during the rest of their day.
– Flavored milk is the most popular choice in school lunch rooms, and kids drink less milk and get fewer nutrients when it’s taken away.
o All milk is packed with 9 essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium – all “nutrients of concern” according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
o Research suggests flavored milk drinkers have more nutritious diets and do not consume more added sugars than non-milk drinkers, and studies show flavored milk contributes just 3% of added sugars to kids’ diets compared to sodas and fruit drinks, which account for close to half of the added sugar and deliver much less, if any, nutritional value.
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