Flavored Milk

Flavored milk has a place on the school lunch tray.

3 flavors of milk Flavored Milk Facts

Flavored Milk is part of school meal programs because it provides the same nutrition as white milk in a package kids prefer. Students drink less milk when flavored options are removed.  

Milk contains 13 essential nutrients, including three of the five nutrients kids don’t get enough of (calcium, potassium, vitamin D).

Schools can choose to offer white and flavored, fat-free and 1% milk, as well as lactose-free milk. Available options may vary by state or district.

Flavored milk in schools has less sugar per serving than the flavored milk in stores. The flavored milk served in school meals has an average of 8.2 grams of added sugar per 8 oz, slightly less than 2 teaspoons of added sugar. In fact, school flavored milk contributes only 4% of added sugar to children’s diets while historically carbonated soda and fruit drinks contribute 45% without the nutritional benefit. 

A Pediatric Dietitian's Perspective on Chocolate Milk

Read pediatric dietitian Jill Castle MS, RDN perspective on chocolate milk for children.

Learn More

Flavored Milk Resources

  • Why Chocolate Milk for Kids

    The taste kids love while still providing the same 13 essential nutrients found in white milk.

    View & Download
  • 1% Flavored Milk in Schools

    School meal impact and experience with 1% flavored milk.

    View & Download
  • Hot Chocolate Milk

    Resources to start Hot Chocolate Milk programs. Put a new twist on chocolate milk.

    Learn More & Try Today
  • Milk: A Nutrient Powerhouse

    13 essential nutrients to fuel your day.

    View & Download
  • Real Facts about Real Dairy in Schools

    Webinar for 1 CEU
    Discusses nutritional contributions of dairy foods to student health and answer common questions related to dairy alternatives and flavored milk.

    View Recording & Resources

Guidance & Research

Title Description
2022 USDA Memo on 1% Flavored Milk Question and Answer Guidance on the Final Rule Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Effective July 1, 2022 Access
Evaluating the Consequences of Banning Chocolate Milk in School Cafeterias Cornell University study open access scientific article. Access
2015 American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Snacks, Sweetened Beverages, Added Sugars, and Schools Position paper that provides nutrition recommendations for children and adolescents in schools which includes room for flavored milk. Access

Related FAQs

Is flavored milk a healthy choice?

Flavored milk contains the same essential nutrients as white milk and is a delicious way to help people of all ages consume essential vitamins and nutrients important for health.

Consider the following impacts to health and nutrition if milk (flavored or not) is removed from the diet:

  • Milk contains calcium, vitamin D and potassium which are nutrients of concern that most American’s don’t get enough of.
  • On average, by the time children are 6 years old, milk consumption falls below the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended daily servings of dairy.
  • Children in the U.S., who drink flavored milk, do not have higher Body Mass Indices (BMIs) compared to non-drinkers suggesting that flavored milk does not lead to weight gain.
  • Replacing nutrient contribution from milk requires three to four food items but adds back more calories and fat than were originally contributed by milk
  • Additional impacts
Shouldn’t students be encouraged to drink water instead of milk with school meals?

Water is important for hydration and should be encouraged throughout the day. When water is consumed at meals instead of milk students often miss out on key nutrients they need more of in their diets like calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. The nutrients lost when students choose another beverage are difficult to make up with other foods while keeping to the same amount of calories and fat.

Is it OK to serve flavored milk to my child?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 10% of calories from added sugars per day, but state that you can cut down on added sugars and still enjoy the foods and beverages you love. Consuming flavored milk, which is a nutrient-dense beverage, can help children improve their diet quality and meet recommended daily servings of dairy. In fact, research shows that flavored milk contributes just 4 percent of added sugars to kids’ diets versus sodas and fruit drinks, which account for close to half of the added sugar and deliver much less, if any, nutritional value.  And flavored milk contains the same essential nutrients as white milk which can help people of all ages consume essential vitamins and nutrients important for health.

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