Friday, July 1, 2011

Chocolate Milk Please!

children outside

Kids can be picky eaters and mine are no different.  My wife, bless her heart, tries to make us eat healthy meals.  She hides veggies and fruits inside dishes to sneak nutrition in.  And if ketchup or ranch dressing for dipping help the kids to eat things that they might not eat otherwise then so be it.

Consuming diary products has never been a problem.  We can put away milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt with the best of them.  I asked the kids at supper about chocolate milk in school.  One said she drank both flavors and the other confessed with a smile that she always chose the chocolate.  I asked about their friends' habits and they said many always chose the chocolate milk.  I then followed up by asking what those kids would do if no chocolate milk was offered.  They replied that many wouldn't drink plain milk and would drink water or soda and sports drinks brought from home.

Many well-intentioned health conscious people would like to do away with chocolate milk in schools.  Unfortunately studies agree with what my kids reported in that if you remove the chocolate milk then total milk consumption drops.  This is bad for all children and especially so for those at risk kids who get their most nutritious meal at school.

One way to solve this problem is to make the chocolate milk healthier.  Innovation in the dairy industry can meet the demands of the consumer.  Many varieties of chocolate milk are now being made with a lower fat percentage and with less sugar.  In his blog post Time to modernize chocolate milk industry, Dino Giacomazzi  throws out the idea of using stevia instead of sugar to sweeten chocolate milk.  Less calories, same nutrition.

Milk packs a major punch in nutrition providing children with many of the things they need. If a little chocolate encourages them to drink milk the health benefits surely outweigh the costs.  But don't take it from me, take it from my kids.

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