We’re answering commonly asked questions about serving dairy foods at school and our resources to support youth wellness.
Dairy in School Meals
Yes. Flavored milk contains the same nine essential nutrients as white milk, including calcium and vitamin D — nutrients of concern that many kids fail to get enough of, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. While there may be a small amount of added sugar in flavored milk, a child having fat-free or low fat flavored milk is a much better choice than a child having no milk at all.
The added sugar in flavored milk does not detract from its nutritional benefits, but it may help improve the appeal of milk. Leading health and nutrition organizations support that the small amount of added sugars in flavored milks is a worthwhile trade-off for the nutrients found in milk.
Flavored milk contributes only 4% of the total added sugars in children’s diets, 2% of the calories, and provides nine essential nutrients, making it a better choice than many other beverages. Research shows that American adolescents who drink sweetened dairy products do not have higher added sugar intakes compared to children who do not drink flavored milk. Additional research shows that children in the U.S. who drink flavored milk do not have a higher Body Mass Index compared to non-drinkers.
An 8 ounce serving of chocolate milk contains approximately 2 mg of caffeine. To compare, a cup of coffee has approximately 95 mg of caffeine. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, flavored dairy foods account for less than 5% of total daily caffeine intake in the collective diets of children and young adults ages 2-22 years. Soda remains the largest caffeine contributor – close to 90% of caffeine intake comes from coffee, tea and soda in the collective diets of children and young adults.
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