October 04, 2022

Nyman: Get schooled on flavored milk

According to the USDA, 19.8 million children in America received lunch and nearly 14 million received breakfast on an average day during the 2020-2021 school year. Using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrition professionals develop school menus that offer the right balance of fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk, whole grains and lean protein with every breakfast and lunch served. The important task of serving healthy meals has been impacted by everything from supply chain shortages to occasional calls to remove flavored milk from menus over childhood obesity concerns. While a few school districts have taken the controversial step to remove flavored milk, others are bringing flavored milk back into the cafeteria.

Sharing evidence of the health benefits of flavored milk can help clear up misconceptions about its place in school meals. With 13 essential nutrients, flavored milk is a key player in school nutrition. Many people may not realize that chocolate and strawberry milk offer the same vitamins, minerals, and protein of white milk.”

Keeping flavored milk on school menus provides students with a regular source of food to meet three nutrients that are lacking in kids’ diets: calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. These nutrients play a crucial role in healthy growth and development. In addition, the advantages may carry over into the classroom, as students who eat school meals and drink 2.5 to 3 cups of milk a day have higher grades and perform better overall in school.

Another myth surrounding flavored milk is that students who drink it consume more added sugars. However, research shows that flavored milk drinkers have better quality diets and do not have higher intake of added sugars when compared with kids who do not drink flavored milk. Furthermore, school flavored milk makes up 4% of added sugar in a child’s diet while providing 13 essential nutrients. Carbonated drinks and sweetened beverages contribute up to 45% of the added sugar in a child’s diet, with little or no nutrients.

Studies have found that milk, whether flavored or unflavored, is not associated with children being overweight. Flavored milk, however, does offer one big advantage: many children prefer it. In fact, a national study found that when flavored milk is removed from elementary schools, it may lead to students taking less milk overall and drinking less of the white milk, increasing food waste.

The bottom line is that flavored milk offers a tasty option to help students reach their daily nutrient requirements. It is important to consider the entire nutrition profile, rather than focus on a single nutrient. Whether chocolate, strawberry or unflavored, milk’s unique nutrient package can help students build strong bones and healthy bodies.”

Triple Chocolate Muffins

Treat your family with these triple chocolate muffins. A delicious option for breakfast or an after school snack, these wholesome muffins will be gobbled up before you can even pour a glass of cold (chocolate) milk!

Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat or all purpose flour

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 large eggs

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate milk

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Procedure

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with paper muffin liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Add the chocolate milk and Greek yogurt. Stir until combined.

Slowly pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until combined, but don’t overmix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean.

Remove the muffin tin from the ovens and let cool for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy with an ice cold glass of milk!

Monica Nyman

Monica Nyman

Monica Nyman is a senior educator and registered dietitian with St Louis District Dairy Council. For more information on the health benefits of dairy, visit www.stldairycouncil.org.