Taste is the driving factor in adults’ food choices, and that is no different for children. As a registered dietitian and a mom, it is important to me that the foods I offer my children are nutritionally balanced, but also taste good. Milk is offered regularly, as I am well aware of the host of nutrients this powerhouse drink provides and the importance it plays in bone health – especially during the teen years.
Teenage years are a time of rapid growth when children accumulate 25 percent of their bone mass. The majority of a person’s bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys. If the right nutrients (calcium in particular) are not obtained during these years, peak bone mass may never be achieved, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis. The good news is that with adequate nutrient intake, this is very much preventable. And even better news, chocolate milk can help children and teens get those key nutrients,
In fact, studies show that when flavored milk is on the menu, kids drink more milk, benefitting from bone-building nutrients, and they do not consume more added sugar, fat or calories than kids who don’t drink flavored milk. My son has consumed chocolate milk just about every single day of his life and is now a 6’3” multi-sport high-school athlete.
As a dietitian, I promote chocolate milk as part of a healthy diet for many reasons: It tastes great and it is loaded with 9 essential nutrients, including bone-building calcium, vitamin D and potassium!
While flavored milk does contain more sugar than plain milk, it’s probably less than you think. Most of the flavored milk served in schools only contains 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of added sugar. The benefit of enjoying added sugar in milk versus in a beverage like soda is that in milk, the added sugar is packaged with nutrients.
Chocolate milk doubles as a sports drink – it is a great post-workout beverage, supplying nutrients for refueling, rehydrating and aiding in muscle repair and maintenance.
In addition to drinking chocolate milk, it can be an ingredient for many delicious dishes, combining both taste and nutrients. That is what I call a win-win! Enjoy this simple protein-packed recipe and click here to find more recipes using chocolate milk.
Chocolate Milk & Peanut Butter Chia Pudding
1 1/2 cups chocolate milk
4 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
5 tablespoons chia seeds
Chopped peanuts (optional garnish)
Mini chocolate chips (optional garnish)
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours or until it thickens to your preference. Top with garnishes just before serving.
Yield: 4 Servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
Nutrition Breakdown: Calories 150, Fat 6g (Saturated Fat 1g), Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 100mg, Carbohydrate 18g, Fiber 7g, Protein 8g.
Diabetes Plate Plan: 1 Milk, 1 Protein
Kim Beavers, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist for University Health Care System. She is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/eatingwellwithkim.