So, we all know how important it is for our little ones to drink milk. In the past year, Emma has been more often than not telling me she “doesn’t like milk” and won’t drink it. This has been stressing me out! I know how important calcium is for her growing bones and milk is such an easy and convenient way to get calcium. While she does eat yogurt and cheese, I’d certainly feel better if I could get her to last least drink a glass or two of 1% milk a day. The most common suggestion friends have given me is to try chocolate milk. With my background in nutrition, I have some concerns with chocolate milk. It is definitely sweeter than regular non fat milk and I would rather my little ones not learn to prefer “sweeter” at such an early age. Also, a lot of chocolate milk it sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup which is something I try to avoid in our house. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you kids will only drink chocolate milk, I am certainly not judging or implying that you are doing something harmful to your child. As moms, we do what works best for our kids and family, especially when it comes to diet – I get it (:
There has been a lot of controversy in the news over the past few years regarding taking chocolate milk out of schools, then you hear they are putting it back in schools – so what gives? What are the pros and cons of our kiddos drinking chocolate milk? Chocolate milk is higher in sugar and calories than regular milk but all milk, flavored or not, is a vital source of calcium and vitamin D. One cup of low fat regular milk contains about 100 calories and 13 grams of sugar (the sugar in milk is lactose which is a natural sugar) and about 300 milligrams of calcium along with vitamin D, vitamin A, B vitamins and potassium and phosphorus. One cup of low fat chocolate milk contains approximately 160 calories and 25 grams of sugar (the increase is from added sugar), but it also contains about the same levels of calcium and other vitamins and minerals. So, it’s not a huge difference but the extra sugar and calories can add up over time. If you child does refuse to drink plain milk, a great option is to make your own chocolate milk at home. Mix in 2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup or sweetened cocoa powder – this only adds about 7 grams extra sugar and 35 calories. So overall, plain milk is the better choice but occasionally chocolate milk made at home can be a delicious treat!
Oh, and my little Emma … I found out that by putting her plain milk in a “special” cup and also talking about how it will make her big and strong for gymnastics class has done the trick. She’s back on the white stuff (: