Parents want what’s best for their children and that holds true for what they eat and drink. Sometimes there is confusion about chocolate or other flavored milks and how they stack up to white milk.
Here’s the short of it: Both low-fat (or fat-free) chocolate and white milk are great options! Leading health and nutrition organizations support that the small amount of added sugars in flavored milks is a worthwhile trade-off for the nine essential nutrients found in milk.
According to a national nutrition survey in the U.S., flavored milk contributes about 4 percent of added sugars to the diets of children ages 2 to 18 years, while soft drinks and non-carbonated sweetened beverages contribute 40 percent of the added sugars.
This is especially important because kids really like their flavored milk. A 2014 pilot study found that when flavored milk is removed from elementary schools, it may lead students to take less milk overall and drink less (waste more) of the white milk that is taken.
That means fewer kids are getting the nutrients that their bodies need to grow and develop, which can be hard to replace. In fact, researchers estimate that it would take three or four different foods to match milk’s nutrient combination, which would result in more fat and calories than are in milk and cost more.
When you look at it that way, there’s no doubt that flavored milks can be a winning addition to your child’s diet – and yours too! Whether your child likes chocolate or white milk, you can feel confident in knowing that your child is getting the nutritious and delicious beverage they need every time they reach for their favorite milk.