Drink up! Chocolate milk offers same nutrients as regular milk - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Drink up! Chocolate milk offers same nutrients as regular milk

(Source: WOIO) (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The struggle is real! It can be a challenge to get kids to eat healthy food, but can a chocolate treat help kids get some of the nutrients they lack most?

On this "National Chocolate Milk Day," we’re getting answers from experts on the benefits of making chocolate milk a part of your child’s diet.

Every day after school, 10-year-old Andrew gets a glass of milk, but his little sister isn't a fan.

“I usually get a glass of milk but Katherine doesn’t like it as much,” says Andrew.

Experts say that can be a problem because skipping milk altogether deprives kids of the nutrients they need during critical bone-growing years.

Most children become deficient in calcium and vitamin D by the time they’re 6-years-old.

But Katherine does like chocolate milk, which contains the same nine essential nutrients as white milk.

"It tastes great. They enjoy drinking the milk, and then they're going to get all of the nutritional value that's going to follow,” says Karen Bakies, a registered dietitian with the American Dairy Association.

Experts say in schools that removed flavor options for milk, about 37 percent of all students didn’t drink milk at all.

"What we would like to see is kids drinking the milk and not throwing it into the trash cans. So by offering the flavors, by offering choice, kids are more likely to drink the milk they're served," says Bakies.

Bakies says the small amount of added sugar in flavored milk is worth the nutritional trade-off.  She says flavored milk contributes to about 4 percent of the added sugar to kids diets.

"That's very small if you compare that to the 46 percent that  they might get if they choose a sugar-sweetened beverage such as a soda or an energy drink or a fruit drink instead."

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